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Tech Receives $22 Million To Continue Training Program

SOCORRO, N.M. October 10, 2013 – New Mexico Tech has secured another year of funding from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to continue training the nation’s first responders.

The agencies budgeted $22 million for fiscal year 2014, which will fund performance level classes for policemen, firefighters and emergency medical technicians from across the nation. Most of the first-responders/students will come to Socorro for the weeklong classes.

“The most significant detail of this appropriation is that, even with the sequestration and shutdown, DHS and FEMA have determined that training of First Responders is a priority and this program is not subject to any reduction,” said Dr. Van Romero, vice president of research at Tech. “We will be able to train first-responders at the same rate as in past years.”

Since Tech began hosting the classes, almost 500,000 individuals have enrolled in the classes. Romero said the program will exceed the half-million mark during this fiscal year.

The program aims to teach people on the front lines how to deal with terrorism incidents, bomb threats and other high-priority emergency situations. Classes are divided roughly equally between classroom activities and field work on Tech’s explosives range.

Tech can host five classes simultaneously, with 50 students in each class. Those who chose to earn college credit typically earn credit in chemical engineering by submitting a report based on the research they conduct during their time in Socorro. Students then transfer their credits from Tech to their local institution.

The majority of the classes are held in Socorro, but some will be held at the Playas Training and Research Center in the Bootheel of New Mexico. A few classes will be offered remotely, with trainers visiting certain locations.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech