Career Services at UNM-Taos
“Out of Work? We Can Help!”
By Bill Knief
When you’re out of work or trying to improve your job status, employment opportunities in Taos can seem few and far between. But at the same time many local business owners find it difficult to fill openings with good employees. That may be the way it has always been in Taos, but it certainly isn’t the way it has to be.
Victoria S. Gonzales is the area coordinator for Business and Professional Skills and the Principal investigator for the Title V CUMBRES (Communities Uniting to Model and Build Entrepreneurial Success) grant that gives UNM-Taos the opportunity to offer career services on campus. She sees to it that Trio, CASA, the Taos Education and Career Center and Career Services programs collaborate so they are not duplicating efforts and resources.
“We are also a collaborator within the community,” Gonzales said. “We will be providing customized training for Taos Ski Valley, Taos County and others on topics such as leadership, hospitality, diversity and sexual harassment. Remember the Chevron mine layoff? UNM-Taos was the first institution to provide real help, in the form of CDL training. We also offer not-for-credit classes leading to for-credit classes. As we move forward, as with the Career Services program under the leadership of Lawrence Medina, our workforce initiatives will concentrate on prospective students throughout the area. And we like to think that, at one time or another, everyone in our service area is potentially going to be able to take advantage of our services.”
Lawrence Medina, UNM-Taos Career Development Facilitator
Lawrence Medina came on board last summer, but has already put together a prospectus supporting the mission, academic programs and growth of the branch campus designed to provide economic and career opportunities. The Career Services program mission is “to assist students, faculty, staff and alumni in developing, evaluating and/or implementing career, education and employment decisions”.
“We are at infancy stage, but we have already served a wide range of students,” Medina commented. “For example, I worked with two gentlemen who were middle aged, both retired, coming back to school to start second careers, and I also work with non-traditional students. The Career Services program can be a point of entry for prospective students. What better way to get them through the door?
“Sometimes I hear from the younger generation that college isn’t for everyone. And while that is certainly true in some situations, the Career Services Center can take you through career exploration so you can make an informed decision about what you want to do for your future. Why not get a certificate or degree in a trade that will allow you to do something you will enjoy, while also making a living?
“Some of the career services we offer are career advisement, where we do “interest inventories”—an assessment that allows the student to assess their interests, abilities and values—and helps them discover an industry or profession that is a good fit. We also collaborate with UNM-Taos advisors on picking the right major. We work on job readiness, covering resumes, cover letters, mock interview situations, and tips and preparation for interviews. We offer job searches on the state, local and national level, and we hold business expos and career fairs. The first one will be held on November 10, and is open to the entire community. In addition we conduct workshops on topics such as resume writing, dining etiquette and proper attire, interviewing and other topics based on community needs.”
For more information on the Career Services program, contact Lawrence Medina, UNM-Taos Career Development Facilitator, at 575 (737)-3770 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.