CNM Receives Federal Funding to Launch Rare Quantum Learning Lab and Training Program
CNM Ingenuity bootcamp trainer Edward (EJ) Ishman aligning a laser for a Quantum Cryptography experiment

CNM Receives Federal Funding to Launch Rare Quantum Learning Lab and Training Program

CNM will be on leading edge for training technicians to fill the fast-growing workforce needs of quantum computing
April 11, 2024

Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) has received $862,000 in federal funding to establish a quantum science lab and develop a quantum training bootcamp to support the fast-growing workforce needs of this emerging field.

“Quantum computing may seem like science fiction, but it is a reality and New Mexico will be a leading center for its practical applications across a multitude of fields,” says Kyle Lee, CEO of CNM Ingenuity, a workforce development arm of CNM. “It is no longer simply an emerging field, it is an economic engine across many industries. With CNM’s focus on connecting learners to training and education that leads to high-quality employment, this is a breakout career field. We will be one of the first and most accessible programs to build out this exciting opportunity for individuals and companies who want to harness quantum systems’ extraordinary capabilities.”

CNM partners on this effort include Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico, with CNM Ingenuity managing the quantum science lab and workforce training bootcamp. The initiative has been in the works for the past year with a focus on creating a specialized quantum training program similar to CNM Ingenuity's other successful Deep Dive bootcamps, which include immersive 10- and 12-week bootcamps focused on coding, data science, digital media, the internet of things, and others that prepare learners for quality employment after completion.

Quantum computers process information differently from the conventional computers we have today, and they can solve problems that are impractical for today’s computers. This will lead to improvements in medicine development/healthcare, more secure online transactions and optimization of supply chains (quicker and more efficient package delivery). Recent projections indicate that less than 50 percent of quantum computing jobs will be filled by 2025 without significant targeted efforts.

“Over the course of the next few years we’re going to see quantum become more applicable to solving real world problems, which will require more technicians to build and maintain quantum systems,” says Brian Rashap, an instructor with CNM Ingenuity, a workforce training arm of CNM. “With this funding, CNM will be at the forefront of building and training that workforce.”

Now that CNM has secured the federal funding, Rashap and his team are working diligently to have the Quantum Learning Lab (QuLL) and curriculum ready to run the first bootcamp at FUSE Makerspace in spring 2025.

Through the bootcamp, students will learn about quantum computing processes, vacuum systems, and lasers and optics to meet the growing quantum workforce needs. By the end of the 10-week program, students will have the necessary skills to build, operate, and maintain several types of commonly used quantum systems. They will also have the skills to become technicians in adjacent fields, such as the semiconductor, solar, and opto-electronics fields. 

“Like our other Deep Dive programs, students will learn the theory and then immediately apply that theory through hands-on activities in the QuLL,” Rashap explains. 

Along with the quantum certification students will earn through CNM Ingenuity, CNM’s School of Math, Science and Engineering is also developing an Engineering Technician program that will recognize the quantum bootcamp as Credit for Prior Learning

Over the next several months Rashap and his team will get the QuLL ready at FUSE Makerspace and finalize the bootcamp curriculum with the help of current quantum scientists from Sandia National Labs. While there is still work to be done between now and spring 2025, Brian is looking forward to offering a program that is not only unique to the state of New Mexico, but the entire country. 

“There are very few formal quantum training programs like this, so it’s incredibly special that CNM is paving the way in that sense,” Brian says. “We’re designing this program to serve employers and students in a really cutting-edge way, so if you’re interested in this kind of hands-on, innovative training this is the place to be.”

If you have questions about this program or would like to learn more, please email workforce@cnm.edu or call 505-224-5200.