Department of Workforce Solutions

Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

About 100,000 New Mexicans are receiving unemployment benefits right now. Many of those people lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and some of those jobs may not come back. But there are employment areas that are growing. New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley told KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona about these growing areas, and said now is the time to plan for what work will look like in the future.

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About 100,000 New Mexicans are on the state’s rolls for unemployment insurance right now. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them qualify for longer-than-usual periods of benefits that expired last year, but have now been reinstated and extended to March 13.

Eva Avenue


We get into what money really is. We take a dive into a bill that looks to create a public bank. We talk with a member of a financial innovation group about how universal basic income has helped businesses during the pandemic. We grapple with student loans. We hear the journey of how difficult it is to start a business as a pandemic is raging. And we have a talk with the secretary of workforce solutions about where the jobs are going to be.

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Now that the state is slowly relaxing the shutdown orders, some are considering getting back to business. In episode 67 we talk with small business owners and those who support them about how they have to come up with innovative ways to sell to their customers, get their employees back, keep the lights on and keep everyone safe. We hear from restaurant owners, a statewide business incubator, a journalist and Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley.

Courtesy of Chad Cooper

Episode 50 is all about athletes and sports, and the pandemic's impacts on the players, the communities, the economy—and our spirits. What are games like when the stands are empty? How do student athletes support each other as they navigate missed opportunities for big seasons, and maybe scholarships? How do physical activity and teamwork help keep folks connected and on the right track? And what do you do when some of that's gone for a minute? 

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Episode 47 is all about this relief money folks have been promised. Where's that unemployment? That stimulus money? That small business relief? That food assistance?

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The U.S. Senate passed a relief package Wednesday that includes a boost for unemployment. If the House also approves the measure and President Trump signs it, self-employed folks, gig workers or contractors, and furloughed workers qualify. The package also increases how much money people will get. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley about how the state was handling the spike in demand. 

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In episode 27, we hear from tipped service-industry workers about what they're facing as restaurants and bars around the state close their doors—unless you're ordering to-go. And host Khalil Ekulona calls his old boss, Ken Carson, who owns Nexus Brewery & Restaurant to talk about shuttering one location because of the impact of the COVID health measures. 

Courtesy of Somos Un Pueblo Unido

For years, the state department that is supposed to enforce wage laws was turning away some people who were trying to get their employers to pay them for work they’d done. Workers and advocacy organizations got together and sued, demanding New Mexico uphold its own laws. They won, and now some people can re-file those claims.

Governor Announces College Internship Portal

Sep 9, 2015
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College students could have an easier time finding professional internships next year. Governor Susana Martinez announced a proposal Tuesday for an online internship portal hosted by the Department of Workforce Solutions.

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The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty alleges the state's Department of Workforce Solutions — the entity responsible for unemployment benefits — is violating federal civil rights laws by discriminating against non-English speakers.

Approximately 63,000 people are currently unemployed in New Mexico. It's also estimated that nearly a third of New Mexicans speak a language other than English in the home, and that's part of the problem.