Jan 12, 2017

Local youth seeking jobs can get help from the NM Workforce Connection

Young Sandoval County residents looking to get a head start in the job market should make contact with the New Mexico Workforce Connection.

This state agency, which is part of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, runs a program that connects young people between the ages of 16 to 24 with local employers who both need new workers and are willing to help young people gain valuable work experience. If a young job seeker needs extra help—such as getting a high school diploma, job training, or even assistance with transportation or childcare—in order to get a job, the Youth Services Program can help in those areas as well.

Employers like this program because New Mexico Workforce Connection pays the salary for the first 450 hours that a person in the target group works at the job. If a youth is in school, the program pays for 350 hours of work.

Providing this pay, which is at the current minimum wage, allows the employee to get work experience while letting the employer judge whether that person will be a good, long-term employee.

Funding for the program comes from the federal Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act. All program participants go through a 4-hour course on basic employability skills to enhance their knowledge of what it takes to succeed in the workplace.

Job matching
“We then try to place people at worksites that match their interests,” said Jerilynn Sans, Workforce Administrator with New Mexico Workforce Connection.  Employers who have hired Sandoval County residents through this program include:

  • Town of Bernalillo
  • Santo Domingo Library
  • Rio Rancho Police Department
  • Rio Rancho Boys Club
  • Paws and Stripes
  • Dr. Felix Madrid, DDS
  • Melloy Dodge
  • Jemez Pueblo Recreation Center
  • Walgreens.

“We are always trying to add quality worksites,” Sans said. “Any employers interested in participating in this program should contact us.”

In addition to Sandoval County, the New Mexico Workforce Connection operates this program in Valencia, Torrance and Bernalillo counties.

There are several ways for Sandoval County youth to sign up for the program. They can contact one of the program’s youth development practitioners:

They can visit the Department of Workforce Solutions’ Sandoval County office at 301 Rail Runner Ave, in Bernalillo, or the department’s main employment center at 501 Mountain Rd., NE in Albuquerque.

On Wednesdays, between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, program staff is available to meet with job seekers at the Star Heights Recreation at 800 Polaris Blvd, SE in Rio Rancho.

Employers interested in the program should contact Victoria Perez, business liaison at 505-843-1911 or