Sandia National Labs makes hiring surge

More than 1,000 new jobs are coming to Sandia National Labs, and that hiring surge means big business for Albuquerque.

Lab officials said the expansion is part of a national effort to modernize and extend the life of the nation’s nuclear weapons.

“The growth relative to these jobs is dictated by the needs the country has to secure our borders and keep the world safe and secure and ensure global peace. That’s our purpose statement here at Sandia,” MIssion Services Associate Labs Director Scott Aeilts said. “Our nuclear weapons programs are in an unprecedented time of growth, moreso than the Cold War era.”

Aeilts said since October, they have been working to fill 1,900 spots and they still have about 800 to go.

The positions range from constuction to project management.

Approximately 1,100 of those spots are newly-created positions. Aeilts added that they need more space for all of these new hires, so they’re in the process of signing a new lease close to the main facility to fit 500 people.

They also want 80-percent of the hires to live in Albuquerque, which local businesses say they can’t wait for.

“We have a group of Sandia Labs employees that come here once a week to have breakfast with us so we rely on them,” Owl Cafe Manager Rudy Lovato stated.

The new hires will include 500 paid student interns this summer, with approximately 60 percent of them coming from New Mexico universities.

The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors said the combination of these new hires, who make an average of $100,000 a year, and those also coming to work at Facebook and Netflix is good news for Albuquerque’s housing market.

“We have the perfect environment to supply the right houses for these jobs so that’s really going to boost our economy and boost those higher end sales that we’ve been a little stagnant on,” GAAR President John Lopez said.

Right now, Sandia National Labs has 13,000 employees. Eleven thousand live in Albuquerque and the rest are in California.

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