In 2009, the Associated General Contractors New Mexico (AGC-NM), an NCCER Accredited Training Sponsor, established the New Mexico Building Education Foundation (NMBEF) to develop a skilled workforce that meets the industry’s current and future needs. As a non-profit education foundation, NMBEF uses NCCER training to prepare individuals for construction careers in rural western New Mexico. Many of NMBEF’s efforts are focused in the Four Corners region where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet and where the Navajo Nation resides. The area is known to have low household incomes and high poverty rates.
There are some unique challenges facing the state and the Four Corners region. Like the rest of the country, New Mexico has a severe construction workforce shortage due to policy, education, demographic and economic factors that have decimated the once robust pipeline of new craft professionals. New Mexico is also the last state in the nation to recover from the Great Recession because of its struggling economy. Despite these challenges, NMBEF CEO Vicki Mora is optimistic about the future of construction in the state. “New Mexico has limited resources, but we are on the cusp of some exciting times.”
Statewide, AGC-NM offers NCCER training for numerous crafts and levels. In addition, the chapter is developing career pathway programs through the New Mexico Career and Economic Center, which is an advanced training center with a technological infrastructure for delivering online learning opportunities with industry-recognized NCCER curricula.
AGC-NM’s direct involvement with the school includes delivering NCCER training to students through project-based learning. The students receive NCCER’s credentials that are in demand by employers, so they can start earning a salary upon graduation. Once in their careers, they can receive additional NCCER training through AGC-NM to continue their career paths.