ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Sandia National Laboratories has recently made changes aimed at bolstering recruitment and diversifying the workforce, lab director Stephen Younger said Wednesday.

Younger told members of a state legislative committee that Sandia has dropped its grade point average requirement for non-intern positions.

The change adopted in August is part of an effort to look at the whole person, rather than just transcripts or what kind of degree a person might have. He said the change opens up the field to prospective workers, such as first-generation college students who might have struggled early on but went on to earn master's degrees or Ph.Ds.

"These are exactly the people we want to hire. With that kind of grit and determination, they're the people you want, who will work really hard," Younger said.

The lab is also planning to work more closely with New Mexico's colleges and universities and has created a fellowship aimed at attracting some of the brightest women scientists.

With about 12,000 workers, Sandia is among the state's largest employers.

According to the lab, 38 percent of employees at all Sandia sites, including those in California, have earned their highest degrees from New Mexico schools.

Lab figures also show that 34 percent of Sandia's workers self-identify as minorities while 32 percent are women.