UNM-Taos Workforce Development Expands Its Reach

February 23, 2022

Courtesy photo

UNM-Taos Education Specialist Hannah Smith is pictured conducting Excel training for Taos Ski Valley. The training was held at UNM-Taos HIVE and at the Klauer Campus.

Workforce development is a people-first approach to increasing workers’ skills for long-term success. It focuses on human development, which boosts morale, retention, and productivity. Having more skills in the latest technologies is not only beneficial to employers but is critical for employees wanting to get a foot in the door and climb the ladder.

UNM-Taos Office of Academic Affairs received a new grant from the Española-based Regional Development Corporation to conduct noncredit workforce training in our area. Taos Ski Valley (TSV) and Taos Pueblo received several noncredit trainings — at no cost to them — including the widely used Microsoft Excel, Customer Service, Buddy to Boss, and Leadership Essentials.

Over two Excel trainings, UNM-Taos Education Specialist Hannah Smith instructed about nine participants from TSV and four from the UNM-Taos advising team. Working with Taos Pueblo, Professional Skills and Community Engagement Department Chair Victoria Santistevan said she “consistently had over 20 from Taos Pueblo Central Management.” 

“My approach to teaching something like Excel isn’t to go over every single little thing they might need to know,” Smith shared. “Rather, I like to start with the principles of the program: How do rows and columns work? How might you want to design your data entry for it to be maximally useful? How can lists and other features help you keep your data clean? Then, once your design is solid, how can you use features like filtering and sorting to get the most out of your spreadsheets?” 

Smith added that she feels the students “left a little more confident and a little less anxious about getting Excel to work for them.”

These kinds of programs — even if short-term — help make “The Land of Opportunity” a promise kept.

For more information, contact Victoria Santistevan at vsg@unm.edu.