Please find the full policy here.

As governor, my top priority will be jobs – keeping the jobs we have, growing new, better paying jobs and remaining competitive in our changing, global economy. We are hard-working, talented people and our state’s quality of life makes New Mexico an ideal place to run a business, build a life and raise a family. But since the Great Recession, our economy has stalled.  Our recovery has been slow, partly because of the unique challenges that come from years of underinvestment. High poverty rates, high unemployment figures, limited job creation, poor education and training rates, and brain drain all undermine efforts to create new jobs and a modern workforce.

New Mexico’s unemployment rate was once below the national average. To turn this around in both the near and long term, we must focus on building a skilled and adaptable workforce that’s ready to succeed and grow the economy.  As governor, I will work with industry, educators, and community leaders to:

1. Create a system that is responsive to employers’ current and future economic needs by establishing a skills training system that solicits input and support from every part of our economy by:

  • Creating a Commerce Cabinet comprised of business leaders and cabinet members including the secretaries of the Departments of Economic Development, Transportation, Workforce Solutions, Licensing and Regulation, Energy and Environment, Taxation and Revenue, and Department of Finance.
  • Instituting partnerships that provide real-time feedback on employer needs. Growing sectors in need of talent need responsive support from our government.
  • Growing New Mexico’s economic sector strategy.  As I explain in my plan "Build New Mexico," we must diversify our economy to grow new industries and create new jobs.

2. Create a System of Lifelong Learning by embracing both formal and informal environments as well as self-directed learning.  As Governor, I will:

  • Align our P-20 and adult education systems with employer needs.
  • Improve the quality and efficiency of the adult learning system, including continuing education programs.
  • Create Technology Literacy Collaborative and Community Technology Centers (CTC).

3. Make Community Colleges an Essential Driver of Workforce and Economic Development by developing stronger, centralized programs and resources that allow community colleges to match industry needs and provide real pathways.

  • Align New Mexico’s “I-BEST” (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) program to workforce needs.
  • Create an avenue to facilitate relationships between colleges and local industry and direct the Higher Education Department, Department of Workforce Solutions, and Economic Development to work together to provide a model for the implementation of workforce-focused programs and industry partnerships at community colleges.
  • Work with the Public Education and Higher Education departments to reduce the burdens that make a post-secondary degree unattainable to so many New Mexicans.

4. Grow and Expand Apprenticeship Programs by directing state funds to establish new and grow existing apprenticeship programs. I will also convene partnerships to develop high-quality, effective programs that address the workforce needs of the state.

5. Remove Barriers to Employment and Training by doing the following:

  • Streamline our existing infrastructure and delivery system. Using the Working Families Success Network as a model, we will work to integrate, bundle and sequence complementary services and support in three key areas: financial coaching and education, employment, and improved access to public benefits.
  • Improve access to childcare by linking childcare agencies to workforce development activities that will lead to employment.
  • Implement programs to address long-term unemployment.
  • Implement work share programs that benefit not only the employer and the employee but also the entire state.  Work share gives businesses the option of reducing the hours and wages of their employees rather than laying them off.
  • Make the system more accountable and more fair.  Not every job is a good job. We will reimburse workforce contracts on the basis of job quality rather than job placements, using on concrete measures like full-time work, wage growth and job continuity.

6. Stop New Mexico’s Brain Drain by working with the legislature to take aggressive steps to retain and attract recent graduates. I will: 

  • Offer programs to reduce debt for young New Mexicans.
  • Work with our communities to make New Mexico attractive to young skilled people and show them all that New Mexico has to offer: history, culture, and beautiful state and national parks, as well as high-paying jobs, a low cost of living, and an economy that is looking to the future.

By working together to implement this plan, we can develop the kind of strong, skilled workforce that is the foundation of any healthy economy. As governor, I will work to ensure that every New Mexican who wants a job can find one, and every business that needs an employee can find the right person.