SOUTHWEST NEW MEXICO LABOR POOL
2008 Southwest New Mexico had a combined labor force of 29,956, of which 2,224
were unemployed. A table of the four-county labor force is shown at below
2004 workforce study for the region determined that residents commute to their
place of employment between these four counties.
weekly wages for the counties compared to the State were as follows for the
fourth quarter of 2008:
New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS)
workforce data is available in the Workforce
section of this website.
Training Incentive Program (JTIP)
Mexico is home to one of the nation’s most lucrative and aggressive training
reimbursement programs. JTIP funds classroom and on-the-job training for newly
created jobs in qualified companies. The program reimburses 50 to 70 percent
of employees’ wages during the training period, which can last up to six
months. Customized training at a New Mexico educational institution may also
New Mexico University (WNMU)
provides regional workforce training through a variety of programs designed to
meet individual needs. WNMU is a leading service provider in the region for
the important New Mexico Works Program. Since 2004, 1,073 people have been
placed in full or part time work. On average, 350-400 people are served each
month from Grant, Luna, Sierra, Hidalgo and Dona Ana Counties. WNMU’s Adult
Education Services (AES) program serves as a model for the State. In the past
several years, on average 1,000 individuals per year availed themselves of
education services provided by the AES program. Of these, 213 have completed
the GED college prep program, 308 students received computer-based training, 94
completed English as a Second Language (ESL), and 5 students received
offers considerable job-specific training and education opportunities. As the
region’s community college, WNMU offers several associate degrees, and
certificate programs are provided in Health Sciences, Applied Technology, Law
Enforcement, and Criminal Justice, Information Technology, Economic Development
and Early Childhood Education. In addition, Certified Nursing Assistant and
Bachelor of Science in Nursing are also offered at WNMU. WNMU is particularly
proud of the 2-year Nursing and Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs that
rank among the best in the United States.
2004 Silver City commissioned a study by The Pathfinders which included
extensive surveying of workers in the four-county area. The report quantified
a “pool of 6,250 potentially available workers who have indicated an interest
in changing jobs.” Further, “those workers possess the skills, experience, and
education to qualify them for the pay rates at which they would take new jobs,
thus the definition “underemployed.” Of these underemployed workers, 2,800
would change jobs for $10.99 per hour or less and 50 percent of them would take
a new job for $12.40 per hour or less.
chart below shows the education levels of the workers in the study. The average
age of the workers was 36.9 years. The gender of those surveyed was almost
evenly divided: 49 percent male and 51 percent female.
spreadsheet with more detailed data of all the findings in the study can be
addition to telephone surveying of workers, Pathfinders conducted interviews
with senior management and human resources professionals from companies located
in the region. Each of these companies operated in the industrial, commercial,
or service sectors. In these interviews the Southwestern New Mexico area
workforce received high marks for productivity. Many of the companies
interviewed stated that their local operations compared equally with operations
in other locations in terms of profitability and production. Absenteeism was
judged to be low. Most of the companies reported turnover to be low to moderate.
the 2004 Pathfinders study several business closures and current down-sizing in
the mining industry are rapidly increasing the available labor pool in
Southwest New Mexico. More than 1,000 workers have lost their jobs in the past
12 months ago.
New Mexico University will work closely with the New Mexico Department of
Workforce Solutions to identify the available workforce for new industry
considering a location in Southwest New Mexico. This has been accomplished
very successfully in the past by holding labor fairs, the use of blind
advertising and other methods.