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June 2, 2020 - An exciting new certificate and degree program will soon come to UNM-Gallup as a result of ongoing collaboration between campus and local industry leaders, including those from Marathon Petroleum, the city of Gallup, and other industrial employers in the area who would benefit from a workforce educated locally at the university. The Process Technology program—as the new program is called—will supply local employers with the process operators and production technicians needed to fulfill manufacturing and industrial demands in the city of Gallup and beyond.

“As part of our vision to be community focused and regionally specific, we have developed these local partnerships to develop a program that will help meet their industrial workforce demands,” explained Jon Saatvedt, who is heading up the program’s review and is currently a visiting lecturer at UNM-Gallup. “The Process Technology Program at UNM-Gallup will prepare students with classroom instruction, a hands-on lab and practical exercises, and computer-based simulations for work in modern manufacturing plants that could include oil refineries, water or wastewater treatment plants, food processing plants, and other manufacturing sectors where raw materials are converted into finished goods.”

Though there are 45 other Process Technology programs offered in other states, the program at UNM-Gallup would be a first of its kind for the state of New Mexico. Through this program, students will ultimately be prepared to safely enter a modern process manufacturing plant, operate computer-based controls, and interpret quality and production data so that they are able to optimize production and operational efficiency.

“The demand locally for a well-trained manufacturing workforce is high. We anticipate ongoing hiring needs from Marathon’s Gallup refinery, the recycled board mill in Prewitt and from the city of Gallup and their water and wastewater treatment plants. And, there are other potential regional employers that include manufacturing plants and power generation and distribution facilities.”

Along with the growing demand for new employees in process manufacturing industries, the average salaries for graduates of the Process Technology Program will range from $45,000 to $70,000 per year. With experience and overtime pay, incomes approaching $100,000 per year are common.

“We have now entered a preliminary review of our Process Technology Program with the UNM provost’s office, and we anticipate additional progress with our review in early August. With final review expected in the fall, we should be able to begin our first classes in early 2021—and we anticipate an initial cohort of around 20 students,” says Saatvedt.

“Our excitement around this new program is shared with our community,” adds Dr. James Malm, UNM-Gallup’s chancellor. “We appreciate and honor the ongoing collaboration among our university leadership and local industrial, government, and manufacturing partners to develop this program that will help meet their essential workforce needs.”

About UNM-Gallup
Chartered as a community college more than five decades ago, UNM-Gallup operates under the aegis of the University of New Mexico as Gallup’s branch campus. Although our priority has always been to serve the community as a two-year college, our association with UNM has allowed us to be flexible and stretch as the need arrives. As the largest of the four UNM branch campuses, we serve approximately 2,200 students.

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The University of New Mexico - Gallup
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Gallup, NM 87301
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