By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., spoke of the potential each graduate has to improve the future of this nation during Friday night’s graduation at Meslands Community College.
“This is a huge step in your life,” Lujan told graduates. “The hard work and sacrifices you and your families have made has made this day a reality.”
Lujan’s speech to the 85 graduates of Mesalands focused on the future and the vital role each of them would play.
“I look out and see your faces and see a bright future for New Mexico and our nation,” he said.
“Walk tall, be proud. This is your day.”
Among Friday’s graduates were the first students to graduate from Mesalands’ North American Wind Research and Training Center.
“It is exciting to be on the forefront of today’s energy technology,” said Mesalands President Phillip O. Barry.
More than 30 students earned their one-year wind energy technology applied science certificate or their two-year associate of applied science degree, said John Hail, director of wind technology.
Hail said the one-year certificate will allow a student to enter into the wind energy field and find employment. He said in the one-year program students get a basic introduction to the components and technology.
“We stress the two-year degree to the students,” Hail said.
Hail said a student can find a job with the one-year degree. He said with the two-year degree, the training in the repair, monitoring and computers is far more advanced and their is an increased chance for management positions.
“Three of our associate-degree graduates were hired a week before graduation,” Hail said. “Three students who are returning next year to complete the two-year degree received summer internships with wind companies.”
Rep. Lujan praised the progress Mesalands has made in the development of the North American Wind Research and Training Center.
“Many colleges are trying to duplicate what you all have accomplished here at Mesalands,” Lujan said. “You graduates are leading the way for tomorrow’s energy needs.”
Lujan said looking forward from an energy standpoint the students graduating from Mesalands’ wind program are filling a vital need.
“Major wind companies are constantly looking for workers because there is a shortage of trained technicians,” Lujan said. “This is an immense issue across the nation. That is why what has been built here at Mesalands is so vital to the future.”
Mesalands graduates list:
The following students graduated this semester, according to Mesalands: