Heinrich, Luján Welcome $2 Million in Defense Investments for NMSU’s Defense Civilian Training Corps Pilot Program
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) welcomed $2 million in funding from the Department of Defense for New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) Physical Science Laboratory (PSL) to help establish and launch a Defense Civilian Training Corps (DCTC) pilot program, an accelerated recruitment and professional development program aimed at increasing diversity in the federal workforce.
The pilot DCTC program will prepare undergraduate students for public service in DoD occupations relating to defense acquisition, including the fields of data literacy, engineering, and technologies to provide the DoD with a ready and capable workforce in the face of near-peer competition. A key component of the program is to also initiate and complete the process for obtaining a security clearance, one of the leading factors that delays new graduates from entering national security related careers.
In 2020, PSL developed the Classified Ready Employee Workforce (CREW) program to enhance student’s understanding of National Security and support the defense workforce pipeline that included obtaining security clearances for students. To date, 26 students have completed the cohort model program, with nine graduating from NMSU as of May 2022. One hundred percent of CREW students have obtained Secret level clearances with four applications initiated at the Top-Secret level by their employer sponsor.
“Our state is home to a unique defense ecosystem that offers so many career opportunities for New Mexico students entering the workforce,” said Senator Heinrich. “That’s why I’m proud to welcome this federal funding that will stand up a new Defense Civilian Training Corps at NMSU, opening the door for more students to secure good-paying jobs.”
“NMSU’s CREW program is a model for preparing a diverse group of college students to enter the workforce and for careers in national security. Last year, I fought to secure this critical investment and I’m honored the Department of Defense chose to model the pilot program after the CREW program,” said Senator Luján. “Through this innovative pilot program, NMSU’s Physical Science Lab will bolster the workforce pipeline in New Mexico and give students a leg up as they start their careers in public service.”
“The Physical Science Laboratory’s relationship with the Department of Defense dates back to 1946 when a group of students were hastily assembled to support the V-2 rocket program at the White Sands Proving Grounds (WSPG),” said NMSU System Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “PSL continues to support many aspects of national security and are a perfect fit to pilot this critical workforce development program for our nation.”