Administration Initiatives

Involved outcomes promote positive engagement between children and their schools, their families, and their communities. From FY2016 to 2023, spending across Involved programs has increased from $8.2m to $12.3m, with the majority of FY2023 funding ($11.2m) allocated to the Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS).

NMDWS strives to be a leader in improving employment and poverty rates through workforce development, enhanced services for employers, and ensuring fair labor practices and workforce protections for New Mexicans. Four pillars guide the work of NMDWS to ensure families can secure a living wage — Educate, Empower, Employ, and Enforce.

The administration has prioritized developing academic and career pathways, focusing on cross-department programs. The NMDWS academic and career pathways are opportunities for youth to explore careers through a New Mexico specific lens, using online resources. This opportunity opens doors for youth involvement with friends, families, and community members, as they look at options for future careers. Further, the work of Involved departments automatically includes the building of mentors and strengthening of family support. Internships and apprenticeships not only build career-readiness, but provide direct mentorship, allowing youth to be meaningfully supported & taught by those already in the career.

A strong component of the Involved activities is the attention to culturally specific, positive youth development. Programs across state agencies provide for youth to engage in academic and career readiness that uses their passions and interests, centers their cultural strengths, and allows them to be leaders as well as learners.


NMDWS AmeriCorps provides opportunities for adult individuals with a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate to make an intensive commitment to a service project for a minimum of two years. 582 AmeriCorps members (not including AmeriCorps Senior Program members) completed service in New Mexico in 2021-22, across 110 service locations.

Young Parents Cohort

NMDWS and other agencies have engaged with a cohort of young parents to understand what services and support these families need. In response to this gatherings/discussions, departments are working on improving non-standard office hours, improving accessibility of One- Stop Workforce Connection Centers, and other specified needs to best support young parents.

Supportive Relationships

Youth who have a high level of support from a caring and responsible adult in the home, in the school, or in the community, and those who have a caring relationship with a friend their own age, are less likely to engage in high risk
behaviors than youth who do not have these strong relationships. Among youth in NM, most youth found supportive relationships with family or with peers.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

New Mexico CTE concentrators (students who take two or more courses in an identified CTE program of study) had a 97.7% graduation rate in 21-22, and this incredible rate held high across at-risk subgroups. Increased funding for CTE has allowed NM to triple its investment directly into CTE classrooms, nearly quadruple the number of Innovation Zone sites, and includes BIE and triballycontrolled schools that have access to CTE opportunities for the first time.

Innovation Zones Initiative

Within the Career and Technical Education bureau, the Innovation Zones Initiative brings together cutting-edge program initiatives and funding that are often siloed or disconnected. It supports the integration of graduate profiles, capstones, CTE, work-based learning, and personalized supports. These innovations ensure that young people have multiple paths and models to find the career fit that best suit their interests and talents.

Devloping Academic and Career Pathways for Youth

In 2018, the court ordered the State of New Mexico to provide educational programs, services and funding to schools to prepare students so that they are college- and career-ready. For the last two years NMDWS has increased its statewide outreach efforts to promote and educate community leaders, partners, organizations, and young people about available career readiness and exploration tools and resources.

Career Exploration:

This website provides career exploration tools to help individuals identify careers they’re interested in so they can get started on the right path to employment.

Why I Work:

Why I Work is a financial literacy and career exploration tool designed and developed for youth. This unique tool enables youth to create fiscal scenarios about how they envision their future and provides them with an overall budget, career choices, and training programs to plan their future.


NMDWS supports an internship portal designed for youth, employers, and experienced professionals as a career pathway planning and workforce development tool. The portal enables employers to announce internship opportunities and provides information for youth seeking placements to enhance their skills and experience. The portal also provides guidance for employers on how to successfully adapt the workplace for an internship and provides tips for youth on how to prepare and find the right placement.

DWS Apprenticeships:

Apprenticeship programs combine paid on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. The Apprenticeship webpage allows students to explore “earn and learn” career pathways available statewide and provides guidance on how to apply and prepare for an apprenticeship opportunity.

Indian and Native American Programs (INA)

Funded to support employment and training activities for pueblo and tribal communities, NMDWS is working collaboratively with INAs to align workforce system development activities within their communities. Partnership activities include technical assistance and training; coordination of economic development activities; and specific sector strategies to ensure that tribal and pueblo members are included in employment and training services.

Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)

New Mexico Arts held the State Finals of Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest on March 5, 2023. The event featured students from seven schools from across New Mexico including student performers, Pueblo Pojoaque Youth Hoop Dancers and Zaphica, student jazz combo from New Mexico School for the Arts. School participants from Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Montezuma, Rio Rancho, and Wagon Mound participated. More than 500 students participated in Poetry Out Loud during in-school competitions.

Rutendo Musharu, a senior at United World College-USA was named state champion at the event and she represented New Mexico at the Western Regionals portion of the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, held in Washington D.C., March 8-10, 2023. She advanced to the final round of regionals, placing her in the top 24 of students from 50 US states and 6 jurisdictions. Poetry Out Loud 2024 registration opens in September for New Mexico schools.

Economic Development Department (EDD)

The mission of the New Mexico Economic Development Department is to improve the lives of New Mexico families by increasing economic opportunities and providing a place for businesses to thrive. Since January 2019 when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham assumed office, the EDD has focused on increasing wages and benefits throughout the state by using the State of New Mexico financing and business assistance programs. Incentivizing jobs in the state with higher wages and full benefits is one way the EDD is able to improve and support the well-being of New Mexico’s children. EDD through the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Office has also supported other programs and organizations like accelerators and family focused organizations that help enable childcare training and policies that incorporate childhood wellbeing and care. EDD intends that individuals who are able to work have the opportunity to find quality work with good wages and benefits more easily as a result of the department’s efforts, thus providing a better quality of life for New Mexico’s children. Part of EDD’s mission statement reads “to improve the lives of New Mexico families,” and the administration continues to actively seek new ways to improve the well-being of children and their parents throughout the state.

Job Training and Incentive Program (JTIP)

The Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) recently created enhanced incentives for businesses that employ foster youth to promote workforce training for this vulnerable population. Working with advisers from the Governor’s office, the JTIP board elected to include the employment of trainees who have graduated out of the New Mexico Foster Care System as one criteria making businesses eligible for an additional 5% reimbursement above the standard JTIP rate. It has been in JTIP Policy since July 1, 2020. This criterion incentivizes New Mexico businesses to hire and train former foster children to be successful in the workforce.