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Representatives from the recently merged Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division signed an educational partnership agreement with Morgan State University on Feb. 27.

The agreement will enable the Navy to assist students with academic and career advice, provide hands-on research projects, and identify and develop future Department of Defense employees.

The partnership marks a historical first for NSWC IHD and EODTECHDIV. The signing of the agreement during Black History Month recognizes the significant contributions the college makes to the advancement of African-Americans. This is one of many educational partnerships that exist between the two warfare centers with institutions such as the University of Maryland, College of Southern Maryland, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez and Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico.

The partnerships are part of the continuing effort to build relationships that will ensure the future strength of the Navy’s technical workforce with diverse organizations. Developing those relationships includes a commitment to recruiting for full-time employment and providing temporary employment for students and selected professors.

Capt. Tom Smith, commanding officer for the warfare centers, believes such agreements provide many mutual benefits.

”Harnessing our nation’s talent, our best and brightest people, has both near-term and long-range positive impacts,” Smith said in a news release. “Proactively recruiting to that end will only help us moving forward. Diversity brings new views, perspectives and problem-solving approaches into our decision-making processes so we make better choices. Our partnership with Morgan State University helps us achieve these initiatives, and we look forward to providing real-world experience to these amazing students.”

David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, is equally enthusiastic about the partnership with the Navy and the two Charles County-based warfare centers.

“Morgan State University is very pleased to play a role in this important educational partnership,” Wilson said. “It not only takes advantage of the knowledge base and capabilities of the university’s faculty while providing many opportunities to collaborate on leading edge and emerging technologies in the [science, technology and engineering] disciplines, but it will also be of immense benefit to our students and, ultimately, the strength of our nation’s future.”