Los Alamos National Laboratory and its partners in the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities [news, Dec. 8, 2010: "Duke on the Hill"] are preparing to reach out to northern New Mexico contractors in anticipation of beginning construction soon of the lab's new plutonium pit processing plant.

At its Oct. 7 meeting, the Coalition discussed a New Mexico Innovative Workforce Development Summit to be held at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center Oct. 20, from 8:30 am-noon.

The coalition is hoping to bring local businesses up to speed on the nuts and bolts of applying for a federal contract, and to reach out to local colleges and universities that have accreditation programs in trades such as welding and electrical work.

Meanwhile, the coalition is still hoping to get federal money to fund its work, but is currently waiting on the state to approve its joint powers agreement. Los Alamos County, Santa Fe County, Rio Arriba County and some tribal governments have signed on to support the coalition, but Taos County is still holding out.