NM College Leaders Participate in Roundtable Discussion with U.S. Department of Commerce and HACU

Several New Mexico educational institutions, along with CNM students and representatives from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, gathered to discuss the development of an advanced manufacturing workforce
May 31, 2024

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and UnidosUS held a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Department of Commerce at CNM on Friday. Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Laurie E. Locascio, met with Hispanic-Serving Institution presidents, state officials, leaders of community-based organizations and students to discuss creating access to careers in advanced manufacturing through partnership with the Department of Commerce.

CNM President Tracy Hartzler gave welcome remarks, followed by Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury, U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.

“Hispanic-Serving Institutions play a crucial role in ensuring the vitality of America’s technological future,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “These roundtable discussions with the Department of Commerce and HSIs, our most diverse institutions of higher education, as well as community organizations provide insights to support the success of STEM students in the classroom and beyond.”

New Mexico currently has 24 Hispanic-Serving Institutions, including CNM, and three Emerging HSIs. The visit by Under Secretary Locascio underscores the crucial importance of HSIs in developing the future workforce with students from diverse backgrounds. Joined by New Mexico Hispanic-Serving Institution leaders from across the state, the discussion emphasized the role HSIs play in expanding access to numerous career paths through higher education and how graduates can contribute to economic growth and innovation by taking positions in key sectors.

“We appreciate U.S. Department of Commerce Under Secretary Locascio visiting New Mexico to discuss how the Department of Commerce can increase opportunities for our local employers and students to enter high-quality careers in sectors supported by CHIPS & Science Act investments,” said CNM President Tracy Hartzler. “With significant federal investments in our national labs, Intel, Maxeon Solar Technologies and other employers and contractors in New Mexico, CNM is pleased to expand our programming and attract new generations of students and community members to pursuing high-demand, high-quality careers in advanced manufacturing, semi-conductor chip manufacturing and other STEM-related fields. We're pleased to be able to provide access to high-quality, high-wage jobs, right here in New Mexico, that make our community and country more secure and lead to greater prosperity for all.”

The discussion centered on potential partnerships among HSIs, community-based organizations, and industry/employers to provide opportunities to develop advanced manufacturing workers. Grant opportunities for higher education institutions and community-based organizations available through the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act launched by the Biden Administration a year ago, authorizes $174 billion for research, development, and workforce improvement in semi-conductor chip manufacturing, STEM and other fields through Fiscal Year 2027. Working together, HSIs, other Minority-Serving Institutions, and community-based organizations will contribute extensively to building the competitive, skilled, and diverse workforce necessary for the nation’s increasingly tech-driven economy.

Attending the roundtable were presidents, HACU leaders, CNM and UNM students, and UnidosUS Affiliates:


  • Central New Mexico Community College
  • Doña Ana Community College
  • Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell
  • New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
  • New Mexico Junior College
  • New Mexico State University
  • San Juan College
  • Southeast New Mexico College
  • University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus

The Department of Commerce will direct $50 billion to programs strengthening and revitalizing the U.S. position in semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing through the CHIPS Research and Development Office and the CHIPS Program Office.