Originally published in the Las Cruces Sun-News on Monday, October 7, 2019
Across the US, the labor market is growing increasingly tight. There were 1.08 available people for every 1 job in the country in July according to the US Chamber of Commerce’s new Monthly Workforce Monitor. During the recession of a decade ago, that number was as high as 8.
This “Worker Availability Ratio” includes 6.6 million unemployed people who are actively job seeking and 1.5 million who are available but hadn’t looked for work in the past month.
In New Mexico, we have .7 workers in the Workforce Connections system available for 35,065 job openings in the state. Doña Ana County has a little wider gap: 1.88 workers for the 3,620 jobs in the county. And those are only the jobs captured through the Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) system and people in the system. There are many others it doesn’t capture.
As the market tightens, it’s critical for businesses that their employment opportunities can hire the right people with the right skills to continue to support ongoing growth and success.
That’s exactly why The Bridge of Southern New Mexico and the Workforce Talent Collaborative are actively working to create “an ecosystem of opportunity” benefitting both businesses and people.
We laid out first-of-their-kind career pathways in eight industries vital to economic growth: connecting education, work-based learning, and Workforce Connections into holistic talent development pipelines for real jobs in those industries.
Then we dug deeper to identify where opportunity is greatest right now. Thanks to support from DWS, we know for four of our eight industries, some of the top opportunities are:
- Machinists with a high school diploma or GED paying $22,220 as an entry wage and $33,130 as a median
- Industrial Machinery Mechanics with a high school diploma or GED paying $33,440 as an entry wage $49,230 as a median
- Web Developers with a two-year degree paying $58,840 as an entry wage and $78,270 as a median
- Software Developers with a four-year degree paying $40,130 as an entry wage and $60,180 as a median
- Supervisors of Production & Operating Workers with a high school diploma or GED paying $32,180 as an entry wage and $48,850 as a median
- General and Operations Managers with a four-year degree paying $45,990 as an entry wage and $74,240 as a median
Aerospace, Space, and Defense:
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians requiring a 2-year degree and paying $51,980 as an entry wage and $73,450 as a median
- Computer Hardware Engineers requiring a four-year degree and paying $69,520 as an entry wage and $90,480 as a median
No one in the state is looking at alignment like this. Doña Ana County is leading, not afraid to show others the way. That is all thanks to those who’ve committed to working together, breaking down the barriers and silos to open floodgates of opportunity for those who live here.
As The Bridge steps into the next chapter of our journey, we’ve mapped out a course that builds on our ground-breaking work to use the assets we already have to create the change we need. Over the next three years, we will be working toward four goals:
- Establishing Doña Ana County as New Mexico’s premier “ecosystem of academic and economic opportunity” for New Mexico’s True Talent – our people and our greatest resource
- Cultivating a countywide PK-14/16 education continuum
- Supporting a thriving and growing business community with strong pools of well-qualified local talent and optimal alignment of workforce investments
- Leveraging influence and voice statewide to inform smart policy and effective practice
Our county has already proven the power of collaboration to create meaningful change. This next chapter is guaranteed to blaze new trails the rest of the state can follow.