Udall, Heinrich: Workforce Connection of Central NM to receive $4M 'Tech Talent' Grant to Train Young Adults and Displaced Workers for IT Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich welcomed news that Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico will receive $4 million to train and re-train hundreds of young and displaced workers for higher-paying information technology jobs in the Albuquerque area. 

Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico will use the grant to expand its New Mexico Tech Connections consortium serving Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia counties. The consortium will train about 338 young adults and others facing barriers to employment. The grant is part of the TechHire Partnership effort launched by the U.S. Department of Labor and Vice President Biden designed to help develop tech talent as a way to keep and create jobs in the Albuquerque area. Grantees not only receive federal funding, they also will leverage private, philanthropic and other funding from stakeholders who have and interest in local workforce development.

"I'm very excited to support this much-needed public-private investment in workforce development, which will help train and re-train workers for well-paying jobs in high-demand fields. Building tech talent can be a successful way to drive economic development in New Mexico. That's one reason I've been such a strong supporter of STEM education and community college training programs," Udall said. "Additionally, with Los Alamos and Sandia national labs preparing to hire thousands of workers in the next five years, we need to be doing everything we can to ensure New Mexico workers are prepared to fill those jobs. Investments in programs like this will help ensure more workers have the skills they need to fill these vacancies."

“New Mexico has immense talent. I am glad that partnership workforce programs like this are making the targeted investments to ensure that New Mexico develops a vibrant technology economy.” Heinrich said. “Earlier this month, I was proud to convene a meeting with Los Alamos National Laboratories and local colleges and universities to ensure that there are partnerships and job-training opportunities for New Mexicans to fill the predicted vacancies at the Labs. We must continue to strengthen the STEM pipeline and ensure that New Mexicans are ready to fill the demand of the high-paying-jobs. Innovative workforce training models are a worthwhile investment that will strengthen our state’s economy.”

More details on today’s announcements from the U.S. Department of Labor:

The $150 million in grants announced today support innovative ways to get workers on the fastest paths to well-paying information technology and high-growth jobs in in-demand sectors like healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and financial services. Of the $150 million in grants, $126 million are specifically designed to best support young workers, ages 17 to 29.

All of the partnerships funded today engage in the following practices:

-Expand access to accelerated learning options that provide a quick path to good jobs, such as “bootcamp”-style programs, online options, and competency-based programs.

-Use data and innovative hiring practices to expand openness to nontraditional hiring by working with employers to build robust data on where they have the greatest needs, identify what skills they are looking for, and build willingness to hire from both nontraditional and traditional training programs.

-Offer specialized training strategies, supportive services, and other participant-focused services that assist targeted populations to overcome barriers, including networking and job search, active job development, transportation, mentoring, and financial counseling.

-Emphasize inclusion by leveraging the high demand for tech jobs and new training and hiring approaches to improve access to tech jobs for all citizens, including out-of-school and out-of-work young Americans, people with disabilities, people learning English as a second language, and people with criminal records.