Workforce readiness training prepares youth workers for Carlsbad employers

Workforce readiness training prepares youth workers for Carlsbad employers Main Photo

16 May 2022

ALBUQUERQUE –  Students aged 15 and up in Carlsbad, New Mexico, earned up to $200 for attending a workforce readiness training program and accepting jobs with local employers as part of a project aimed at providing youth with valuable work experience, and an effort to address immediate workforce needs throughout the city.

The program, Youth Workforce Strong, was developed through a partnership between the New Mexico Workforce Connection, Carlsbad Municipal Schools, New Mexico Restaurant Association, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, and the Departments of Workforce Solutions and Tourism.  

Over 100 students attended the Youth Workforce Strong job fair which took place at Carlsbad High on May 10. Nearly 50 youth left the event with a job for the summer. Fourteen employers were in attendance, and several made offers on the spot, scheduled follow up interviews, or received applications for internship opportunities.

"This partnership was focused on helping local employers establish unchartered workforce pipelines" said Ricky Serna, acting Secretary of the Department of Workforce Solutions. "Not only does this effort increase local workers, it provides young adults with critical workplace skills that will prepare them for jobs in any industry."

“The Tourism Department is committed to exploring new programs and initiatives that will help rebuild the tourism industry’s workforce,” said Jen Paul Schroer, Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Tourism Department. “We’re hopeful that through continued collaboration between the state and the private sector, we can inspire entrepreneurship and restore employment for one of New Mexico’s largest industries.”

Students who participated in the four-day training learned about the importance of gaining workforce skills, employability skills, interview prep, résumé development, labor law, and earned a ServeSafe® license.

"We are thrilled with the outcomes for Carlsbad and thankful for the partnerships,” said Carol Wight, CEO New Mexico Restaurant Association. “This pilot program shows what is possible when we focus our energy on a goal of increasing employment and work towards that outcome; we can make that happen.”

Prior to the job fair, employers participated in a discussion with Department of Workforce Solutions on the advantages of hiring youth, providing mentorship opportunities, as well as retention strategies.

“This program could not have been the success it was without the team we had working on this,” said Chad Ingram, CEO of Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. “It was only 7 weeks ago that this program had a rough outline and six weeks later we were able to put a plan into action. Seeing the number of students that attended not only the class but the job fair was a victory for Carlsbad students and provided a much needed workforce for our Carlsbad employers. These young people are our future and seeing the aptitude, energy, and willingness to get out into the workforce was inspiring. We look forward to helping this program expand into the future and hopefully across the state.”

New Mexico Workforce Connection Centers, located in over 23 communities statewide are free and available to assist employers and job seekers with their workforce needs. They offer assistance to businesses with posting their job openings on, special recruitment, analyzing hard-to-fill jobs, layoffs, job fairs, and skills assessments for hiring. Job seekers can work one-on-one with a Career Consultant for job search, job referrals and placement, and customized skill development like interviewing skills and résumé writing.

Assistance is available in person ( Monday through Friday 8am-5pm, or by phone at 1-800-303-3599 8am-4:30pm.


The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) oversees the New Mexico public workforce system. The department is committed to supporting the business community and assisting New Mexicans seeking employment opportunities by bridging the link between employer needs and the skilled workforce. The department administers programs to include business services; workforce training; Unemployment Insurance; labor law enforcement; veterans’ services; and labor market information.