Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES - More than 1,100 job openings were lined up for welfare recipients in the nine months ending June 30 under the New Mexico Works program in Dona Ana, Otero and Eddy counties.
The program, administered by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, served more than 3,500 participants and 965 went into paid employment.
Alfred Rucks, chief of operations for the program, said employment agreements were reached with 68 businesses and organizations, many as a result of 11 workshops with business groups on tax incentives for participating employers.
"Our experience in the first nine months demonstrated that the first challenge is to place participants in jobs available," said Ron Gurley, director of the program for Extension. "We were so successful in identifying job opportunities that we had to get our job developers in the work of matching participants to those jobs."
NMSU Extension entered into a second contract with the New Mexico Human Services Department to conduct the program in nine southern New Mexico counties for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2000. The program will serve individuals supported by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and food stamp programs.
The NMSU Extension program will offer skill assessment, job development and job placement services in Dona Ana County, while subcontracting with Western New Mexico University and Eastern New Mexico University to serve the remainder of the region.
WNMU will serve clients in Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna and Sierra counties. ENMU will serve Lincoln, Otero and Socorro counties. The Human Services Department set a goal of serving 7,300 clients in the nine county region during the year, Gurley said.
WNMU's subcontract is almost $882,000; ENMU's almost $950,000 and NMSU's funding about $2.1 million.
Gurley said NMSU will operate employment academies in Las Cruces and Anthony to teach job readiness and offer some specialized vocational training, such as forklift operations.
The current contract includes funding to help participants with transportation to jobs, Gurley said.
© 2013 New Mexico State University Board of Regents
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