New Mexico youth, aged 16 to 24, can join the Winter Youth Academy, a free two-week program to help young New Mexicans find employment, before Friday, December 17.
The Winter Youth Academy helps young people learn professional skills, such as writing resumes, completing their GED, and using computers to search for vacancies. The academy was established to help them find full-time or part-time work in fields such as information technology, retail and customer service, parks and recreation, healthcare health, business, etc.
The academy is organized by Help NM, a nonprofit organization providing social services to counties in New Mexico such as Taos, Colfax, Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, Cibola, McKinley, Mora, San Juan, Los Alamos and San Miguel County. Help NM is also affiliated with UnidosUS, a Latin American civil rights and human rights organization.
“I was talking to a bunch of girls the other day, and at first they all just wanted to work in retail and sell clothes, but then I talked to one of them about the CDL program, and she’s so into it, and now she’s going to do it instead, ”said Sylvia Anderson, Community Engagement Liaison for Help NM.
Anderson said some of the young people she has helped enter the workforce are struggling to find housing or come from communities with historic trauma. Some come from violent households or attend schools with a high dropout rate.
“The vast majority of our clients are very low income. They are therefore faced with a shortage in all areas of their lives. And that’s why, while these participants are in our program, we always offer enveloping services. So we offer them money for gasoline, we offer them money for a computer. If they’re in school, we’ll give them books, we’ll help them pay for their books, ”Anderson said.
She explained that they have a small team at Help NM, but have no limit on the number of applicants for the academy and can find job matches in a wide range of industries. She said there are also opportunities for those who have been incarcerated before, migrant workers or those looking for culturally specific work like building and weaving adobe.
“I have not yet had a client and I am not able to integrate him into at least one program that will help him or … whatever part of his life he is in”, Anderson said.
Anderson said that if people miss this deadline, Help NM will offer more academy opportunities in the spring, summer and fall.