New Mexico Junior College Workforce Development’s Automation & Industrial Systems (A&I) Program thrives with a new vision

New Mexico Junior College Workforce Development’s Automation & Industrial Systems (A&I) Program thrives with a new vision

By Deira Fernandez


The Automation & Industrial Systems (A&I) program at New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) has undergone a transformative journey, marked by the addition of Stephen Calderon as its new Instructor on July 1, 2023, and a strategic rebranding initiative from Instrumentation & Controls to A&I. These changes, implemented over the past seven months, have brought great results, positioning the program for amazing growth within NMJC’s Workforce Development Division.

Jerry Morris, director of Automation and Industrial Systems, led the first seven years of the A&I program, which operated as a one-man department for most of that time. However, since the addition of Stephen Calderon and the subsequent rebranding, the program has experienced a three-fold increase in enrollment, marking a significant milestone.

Morris attributes this growth to a series of strategic initiatives. According to Morris, the modernization of the program's name, curriculum reorganization, and the introduction of new courses have been pivotal in preparing students for lucrative careers, both in credit and non-credit programs.

A key development has been the hiring of a full-time instructor, enabling Morris to actively engage with schools and industries in Lea County. This outreach effort has not only strengthened ties with the community but has also contributed to the program's expanding reach and impact.

"I added new areas of training to keep up with industry demand and will continue to do so in the future,” said Morris. “We are here to serve the community and will continue to do so.”

NMJC Vice President for Workforce Development Steve Sauceda also emphasized the program's commitment to meeting the evolving needs of the industry and the local community. "I am proud of the work Jerry and Stephen have done to grow the Automation department and am excited for the future,” said Sauceda. “The training in this department sets students up to find gainful employment in well-paying jobs and that is one of our primary missions in the Workforce Development division." 

The success of the A&I program is further underscored by the increasing presence of former students in industry positions, validating the program's value and relevance. Companies are recognizing the worth of graduates from the A&I program, contributing to a positive feedback loop that sustains the program's growth.

As the A&I program at NMJC continues to thrive, it remains dedicated to serving the community and bridging the gap between education and industry needs. The commitment to staying ahead of industry demands ensures that students receive relevant training, setting them on a path to successful and rewarding careers.


New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) is a leading educational institution committed to providing success through learning and high-quality education to its diverse student body. Founded in 1965, NMJC offers a wide range of academic programs, certifications, and services to empower students to achieve their educational and career goals.

Contact: Valerie Onsurez Gauna, Director of Engagement & Outreach, New Mexico Junior College, 575-492-2780,, or Deira Fernandez, Recruiter, 575-492-2776,