Students attending The University of Texas at El Paso have a path to rewarding careers in the intelligence and national security workforce, thanks to a new cooperative education program created in partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute.At a June 22 press conference at the UTEP College of Engineering, U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, Dr. Pete Rustan, Director, National Intelligence Community, UTEP President Diana Natalicio and ISI Associate Director Joseph Sullivan discussed the details of the Information Operations Workforce of the 21st Century program.
The co-op program will help train talented undergraduate and graduate students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and other fields for careers in the various executive branch agencies and organizations that comprise the United States' Intelligence Community.
"Information Operations includes a broad range of disciplines and the program foresees participation by a broad range of majors across UTEP," said Ricardo Piñeda, Director of UTEP's Research Institute for Materials and Engineering Systems (RIMES). "The 21st century has brought upon us a knowledge-based society where multi-disciplinary efforts are critical for the future workforce."
By recruiting program participants from UTEP, which has a predominantly Hispanic student population, the program seeks to build diversity in the Intelligence Community workforce. Co-op interns who successfully complete the program will have invaluable experience that will give them an edge in pursuing intelligence careers.
ISI, which has deep and long-standing ties with the NRO and other intelligence agencies, will assist UTEP in developing the special program coursework that will be taught by experienced intelligence professionals.
ISI also will assist UTEP in the development of the necessary facilities and network connectivity required for education and research activities.
Students selected for the program will receive a funded internship in which they will spend the first six months of the program studying specialized coursework and the second six months, the students will be assigned to Intelligence Community agencies and gain valuable work experience. After successfully completing the program and earning their degrees, the students are expected to have excellent opportunities for entering the intelligence workforce.
Six to eight students are expected to be selected for the first co-op internships, beginning in fall 2009.