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ESPAÑOLA—In another phase of its growing success, Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) Tuesday. Since Jose Griego became president in 2005, the community college has garnered one achievement after another, including meeting all requirements to become a four-year college. NNMC celebrates its 100-year anniversary next year and expects to more than meet the requirements necessary to become a full-fledged university.“This place is going gangbusters,” said NNMC Executive Vice President Thomas Garcia in an interview Thursday. “We’ll double our student population in five years and we have the fastest growth rate of any four-year institution in New Mexico.”Distance education is the fastest growing segment of the college, he said.“There’s not a department or program that’s not expanding monumentally,” Garcia said, “We have high ambitions, but we must remain very strategic.”Garcia and LANL’s Associate Director Scott Gibbs signed Tuesday’s MOU, which sets forth guidelines for a Machinist Apprenticeship Program.The term of this MOU is five years.Because both institutions have changed names since an initial MOU on the subject was signed in 1999 by Northern New Mexico Community College and the University of California, the new MOU updates the agreement.The Machinist Apprenticeship Program is a four-year, 8,000-hour program that provides machinist apprentices at LANL with classroom instruction and on-the-job experience in machining, including machine tool operations.Apprentices work under a professional machinist and receive the education and experience required for certification from the New Mexico State Apprenticeship Council as journeyman machinists. Machinist Apprenticeship Program participants are LANS employees. They receive their first two years of instruction on the NNMC campus and are placed at LANL for the remaining two years of the program.LANL and NNMC are looking at expanding their relationship further in an MOU that will address additional areas of mutual benefit, Garcia said.The college continues to expand and now has a new $1.8-million High Tech Manufacturing Training Facility, which houses the Semiconductor Manufacturing/Electronics Department. The new facility, named one of the nation’s top five “Best Practice” planning projects, will soon house a robotics lab, a clean room and multipurpose lab, distance education classroom space, faculty offices and classrooms.Plans are in the works for the college to construct student housing to include a 250-300 unit apartment complex.Plans also are underway to construct a $5-million teacher education building on campus from funds approved in last year’s GO Bond.NNMC, located at 921 Paseo de Oñate, is a two-year and four-year degree granting institution of higher learning serving Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Taos counties. Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, NNMC offers degrees in business administration, teacher education, nursing, radiography, biology and engineering.Nearly 65 certificate and degree programs are offered on the Española campus including accounting, business administration, computer science, design foundation, computer aided drafting, early childhood education, fine arts, human services, library technology, micro electronics, management information systems, nursing, radiography, science, substance abuse counselor, and welding technology.