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With the state now completely turquoise, it’s clear that whatever new “normal” will be at hand.

For those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, the job search requirement has been reinstated for those receiving unemployment benefits, and additional federal unemployment benefits will end in September. Employers are hiring now, with some offering hiring bonuses or higher pay to fill their vacancies, and those who act now will likely have opportunities that will not be available in the fall.

For those who found themselves unemployed during the pandemic, being in Doña Ana County is one of the best places to return to work, especially if it means moving into a career in a new field. And for young people, there is an incredible opportunity this summer with a summer jobs program for young people that is already paid for by federal dollars.

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Let’s start with the opportunities for young people – a huge benefit to future student success.

The College and Career Readiness Bureau of the New Mexico Department of Public Education has started the summer enrichment internship program. The federal government has committed more than $ 9.89 million for the program as part of pandemic relief efforts. As part of the program, funding is available to cover the cost of summer internships for current New Mexico high school students in June-September. Funding will cover student salaries of $ 10.50 per hour for 20 hours per week for 6 weeks.

The goal of Doña Ana County is to provide 520 high school students with the opportunity to participate in high-quality internships in government agencies, as well as in non-profit organizations or private sector operations that promote education. exposure of students to high quality positions. Students must be 16 by June 21 to participate.

Students who wish to participate can contact their school to register for summer opportunities.

Summer jobs for young workers are more than money. They give young workers a real advantage over those who have never worked before: real-world professional exposure, learning relationships with employers who might want to hire them later, an opportunity to explore different careers within an industry, and much more. Those who had summer jobs also tend to have higher high school and college graduation rates than those who did not.

All around, it’s a win-win for our community.

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Then, for those looking to get back to work by fall, there are a few options to explore.

If you are looking to develop your skills with new training, New Mexico State University and Doña Ana Community College offer online, short-term, skills-based degrees that would help individuals qualify. for more skilled and better paid jobs. in our community. To learn more, you can visit https://dacc.nmsu.edu/online-programs/ and https://online.nmsu.edu.

There are many financial resources available to people pursuing these programs, so don’t let the cost of a program put you off. Both NMSU and DACC have financial aid staff who can advise potential students on their options. In addition, those currently receiving unemployment benefits can apply for training funds through the Workforce Connections system.

To find out which credentials are most requested here in our county, there is a one-stop-shop for more information at https://newmexicotruetalent.org/career-pathways/. Just click on the industry to see what some of the employers here are looking for in their talented workforce.

You can also keep up with the latest career and resource information by following New Mexico True Talent on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Thanks to the great partners, programs and people here in our county, we all have incredible opportunities for a bright post-COVID future.

Tracey Bryan is President / CEO of Bridge of Southern New Mexico.

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