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NMDWS and NMDOH launch USDOL Navigator Grant in marginalized communities

This month the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS), in partnership with New Mexico Department of Health (DOH), Office of Community Health Workers, Population and Community Health Bureau Public Health Division (OCHW) will launch the Navigator Grant of $2.8 million awarded by U.S. Department of Labor. The grant will engage community health workers as navigators, to expand outreach and support for Unemployment Insurance benefits and re-employment services in rural, remote, and tribal communities in New Mexico.

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), DWS provided specialized training to community health workers on Unemployment Insurance and Employment Services so that the health workers can connect community members to DWS resources while promoting awareness of other social safety net programs. Community Health Workers will directly connect to DWS specialists who can help them with Department services.

“Community Health Workers are already doing great outreach work in the rural areas of our state, and now they will have the skills and resources to connect their clients with one-on-one assistance in applying for benefits, finding a new job, or getting support for education and retraining,” said NMDWS Secretary Sarita Nair. “Access and inclusion are critical to Governor Lujan Grisham’s administration, and our Department is excited to partner with Department of Health to continue our efforts to help all New Mexicans.”

“Thanks to the USDOL Navigator Grant, New Mexico is taking a proactive approach by involving community health workers in rural, remote, and tribal communities to assist individuals seeking unemployment insurance benefits and re-employment services,” said Patrick Allen, Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health. “Empowering individuals with the support of community health works is invaluable, as they can provide personalized guidance and explanations throughout the process.”

Community Health Workers will also identify barriers that make unemployment and employment services difficult to understand or access. By addressing these challenges, the Department of Workforce Solutions aims to engage people who have not been active in the labor force and help them return to work.

DWS services are provided both online thorough New Mexico's official online portal to virtual job matching services, employment resources, the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims System, labor market information, and much more at New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System (https://www.jobs.state.nm.us), and in person at local New Mexico Workforce Connection Centers (https://www.dws.state.nm.us/en-us/Office-Locations) located in 24 cities across the state.


The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) oversees the New Mexico public workforce system. The department is committed to supporting the business community and assisting New Mexicans seeking employment opportunities by bridging the link between employer needs and the skilled workforce. The department administers programs to include business services; workforce training; Unemployment Insurance; labor law enforcement; veterans’ services; and labor market information.

The Navigator Grant is supported by the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor as part of an award totaling $2,801,230, 100% is financed with federal funds with 0% financed from non-governmental sources.
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