As published in the Las Cruces Sun-News – June 1, 2020
by Tracey Bryan
It’s hard to believe COVID-19 descended upon our state less than three months ago. Keeping people safe has resulted in shuttered businesses, some closed for good, and driven more than 100,000 to unemployment roles, with another 26,000 self-employed businesses filing for assistance.
Regardless of what kind of economic recovery we can expect (U-shaped, V-shaped, L-shaped), it’s critical as many people as possible can return to work, perhaps find even better job opportunities, or use this time to pursue skills-based training or college-level credentials or diplomas to obtain higher-skilled, higher-wage jobs that will be here for years to come.
So, if this is you, and you’re looking for options and directions, the best way I can use this “Learn & Earn” column is provide a few ways you can start.
If you’re looking to get hired right away:
- Check out a host of job opportunities for free at: https://www.jobs.state.nm.us. There are 2,677 job postings in Doña Ana County as of this writing ranging across fields and incomes. This is a one-stop location to find job and career opportunities posted on numerous other online platforms.
- Contact Workforce Connections (www.employnm.com) locally to access information, resume preparation and interview skills prep, job placement, job training, and even help with tuition assistance to pursue credentials and degrees.
Now is also a great time to gain the skills or credentials for better, higher-paying jobs. Without question, investing the time and resources to advance your education can pay off big rewards.
Even before COVID-19, college credentials and diplomas were directly tied to greater likelihood of being hired, higher pay, and more opportunities for career advancement. Doña Ana Community College (DACC) is offering on-line programs right now for skill readiness, as well as high-value two-year degree programs. New Mexico State University is perfectly positioned to also deliver high-skilled, high-valued degrees with more and more courses available online.
Don’t let your fear of the costs keep you from investing these choices…there are a TON of financial resources that can help get you across the finish line without incurring student loan debt. To find out more about DACC and NMSU’s programs and explore financial assistance available, visit www.NewMexicoTrueTalent.org, choose your “roadmap,” and then click on “My Educational Options.” You’ll find all the links you need to get started.
And, if you first need a high school diploma or GED, the Adult Education program at DACC can help: https://dacc.nmsu.edu/ae/.
If you choose the education route, pursue credentials and degrees valued by our employers and industries. All degrees are not equal when it comes to their payoff in the world of work, so choose wisely!
To find some of the highest value careers and degree programs here in our county, you can visit the Career Pathways tab on our www.NewMexicoTrueTalent.org website. Our top eight industry sectors are mapped out to include careers, income ranges, and degrees aligned to those careers to help you find your way: Aerospace, Defense, Advanced Manufacturing, Transportation & Logistics, Healthcare, Energy, Digital Media, and Value-Added Agriculture.
You can also use that website to explore careers that suit you best – just choose your roadmap and explore the free Career Exploration tools from either the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions or DACC. DACC’s tool will connect you to their degree programs aligned to your potential career destinations.You really can come out of COVID-19 with better and stronger career prospects than you may have had before. Knowing your options, knowing your partners, and knowing that we, as a community, are committed to your success, you can look beyond the crisis of the moment to the brighter prospects for your economic future.