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Valencia County group works to build career-ready communities

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The Valencia County Partnership for a Career Ready Community welcomed guests and celebrated their accomplishments at a Matanza barbecue recently. The barbecue was donated by Virginia Smith of Adelante Consulting and presented by El Ranchito del Los Ninos.

The Partnership’s goal is to bring community educators, businesses and partners together to form long-term, productive relationships providing resources, education and support to build a healthy career-ready community. Last spring, the group hosted a demonstration project where they coordinated events that provided career exploration experiences to 400 Belen and Los Lunas high school students.

This group is here for the kids,” says Steve Togami, Accounting/HR coordinator at Aristech Surfaces, who has been involved with the group from the beginning. “We hope that the exposure to career exploration activities gives students incentives to get their diploma or GED. We also want them to know about the many companies and jobs that are available right here in our county.”

This fall in Los Lunas, the district internship coordinator contacted students to gauge their interest in internships, and events are being planned for the spring of 2019 to build on previous activities. Belen schools are planning to organize teacher field trips to businesses to learn more about the opportunities available to graduates in the community. The career fair at Infinity High will continue to give students a quality learning experience with local employers. 

This was a productive year for this partnership,” says Teri Wimborne, Mission: Graduate’s Director of Collective Impact. “Our hope is that we can create a culture of employers, educators and community members all working together to increase the skills of the local workforce, and to see future graduates who are knowledgeable about all the opportunities that Valencia County has to offer.

The group recently hired a partnership coordinator who will focus on developing relationships with Valencia County employers who can engage students in career exploration activities that will advance the work.

The Valencia County Partnership for a Career Ready Community came together last fall to help address the challenges that employers have in finding qualified workers.

The barbecue provided an opportunity for business and community members to network and learn about the work. Proceeds from a silent auction will go toward financing the coordinator’s work.

Valencia County businesses interested in learning more about this partnership can contact Teri at

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