This fall semester, Western New Mexico University and global mining company Freeport-McMoRan New Mexico Operations have been collaborating with the mission of preparing welders for employment in Grant County’s Chino and Tyrone mines.
Freeport-McMoRan New Mexico Operations donated $10,000 to WNMU’s Department of Community and Workforce Development, which runs the applied technology programs, designating the funding specifically for the purchase of training equipment and supplies in the welding program. So, with Freeport’s needs in mind, WNMU has begun introducing new processes into the existing welding program and may in the future be able to offer continuing education courses for those already welding in the mining industry.
“Universities need to be more responsive to corporate needs,” WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard said. “The partnership with Freeport-McMoRan not only illustrates this but also enhances the local economy by providing meaningful opportunities for our local workforce.”
As WNMU’s applied technology programs provide welding students practice in the fundamentals and also give students opportunity to develop heavy duty welding skills for application in the mining industry both locally and internationally, this collaboration helps prepare WNMU welding students for employment at Freeport’s operations, enabling them to get hired without leaving the community they’re rooted in and allowing them to jump into higher-paying positions at home or anywhere in the world.