Jobs and Business
by Christie Chisholm, Santa Fe Reporter, May 11, 2010
Part of the Santa Fe Reporter's 2010 Annual Manual
It’s not as dire as it seems. At least, relatively. Sure, the economy still sucks and getting through the unemployment benefits line (even the one on the phone) can take days. But how about a little perspective? Santa Fe’s unemployment rate, grim as it may be at 7.7 percent, is still better than any other major metropolitan area in the state, and it leaves our neighbors’ capitols (Denver, Phoenix, Dallas) in the dust. And it’s much better than the national average of 10.6 percent. Comparatively, Santa Fe’s job outlook is pretty good. Of course, that’s unless you’re one of that 7.7 percent.
But for those people, there are resources. There are also resources for those who own or want to start a business. Because even though the economy blows harder than a jet engine in a wind tunnel, it seems like there are now more tools than ever aimed at throwing people a rope.
MAKE A LIVING
Santa Fe isn’t cheap. It’s hard to find a decent apartment for under $700 a month, and the temptation to spend is just too great in a city where boutiques, galleries and agave mojitos are as common as chamisa on the foothills. But Santa Fe also has one of the highest minimum wages in the country at $9.85 per hour. And while living here might not be easy on a budget, it’s nothing compared to cities like San Francisco or New York, both of which have lower minimum wages.
Our city has such a sweet deal due in part to the Santa Fe Living Wage Network, which pushed for years to raise the standards of hourly pay, shepherding legislation through the City Council and Chamber of Commerce. Now the group is fighting for affordable housing in the city. Learn more about these issues on its website.
THE GOVERNMENT IS YOUR FRIEND ... WITH BENEFITS
If you’re one of that 7.7 percent, which translates to about 5,900 people in Santa Fe who are now jobless, you may be entitled to some benefits. To qualify, you need to have lost your job “through no fault of your own,” and you need to be monetarily eligible—which basically means you can’t collect benefits if you quit, were responsible for your firing or haven’t actually had a job. You also must be able and willing to work. If you fit that description, you can apply for benefits a couple ways. You can dial up the Department of Workforce Solutions’ call center, but with 1,000 to 2,000 new people trying to get benefits every week, it can be hard to get through. The better bet is filing a new claim online. And for people who have already been approved, DWS just launched a new toll-free number you can call to perform weekly certifications and reset your PINs. If you haven’t applied yet, get on it fast. It usually takes four to six weeks after submitting your application before you get any cash.
Call center, 505-841-4000, toll-free number for claimants, 877-NM-4-MYUI, www.dws.state.nm.us
GET A JOB
Don’t believe what you hear—businesses are hiring. There may be more people scrambling for jobs than there were in the golden days (aka two years ago), but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find gainful employment. It just means you have to be persistent. Like all good researchers, start by covering your bases—your local classies.
Santa Fe Community College Career Services
You don’t have to be a student to use SFCC’s job-hunting resources. Go its website to scan through scads of listings and take advantage of the job fairs and free advice it offers.
6401 Richards Ave., Room 201H, 428-1406, sfccnm.edu/career_services
New Mexico Workforce Connection
This website provide a bunch of local listings, organized by metro area. It also helps you build a résumé and gives a bunch of other tips, like how to land apprenticeships and the starting rate you should get in certain fields. Plus, it lists large employers in your area.
The state’s Economic Development Department created something called the “career clusters guidebook,” a document with salary information and educational requirements for seven generalized career paths—like health and bioscience, communications and information, and energy and environmental technologies. If you go to the Department of Workforce Solutions’ website and click on the “Career Clusters” link on the left-hand side of the page, the booklet will download to your computer.
New Mexico Film Office
Film production has become an economic cornerstone in New Mexico, thanks to credits and other financial incentives pushed through by Gov. Bill Richardson. While the industry, like all others, is hurting in the recession, you can still get in the biz. Click on the “Bulletin Board” link on the New Mexico Film Office’s website to find openings. And if you want to get into New Mexi-wood but don’t have the experience, find training opportunities on the site’s “Workforce Advancement” page.
418 Montezuma Ave, 476-5600, nmfilm.com
Chances are, since you live in Santa Fe, you’re already an artist. So why not trying making some dough off your creative expressions? Talk to gallery owners, see if you can get your work hung in restaurants or coffee shops. If your art isn’t of the hanging variety, talk to local businesses about selling some of it. And if you’ve always wanted to pursue your inner artist but never had the guts, take some classes. The art world is your oyster.
New Mexico Tech Jobs
Our state is filled with engineers and programmers. If your skill set is even remotely tech-oriented, this job listing site might be your perfect match. Funded by Technology Ventures Corporation and the NM WIRED Project, this website is all tech, all the time.
Work For the Man
Unless you’re an anarchist, there’s nothing wrong with government gigs. They pay well, they give great benefits and they’re fairly secure. Plus, there’s no better way to change a system than from the inside.
The City of Santa Fe
Be a lifeguard. Or a police cadet. Or possibly the Wastewater Management Division director. All jobs were up for grabs on the city’s website when we wrote this. Who knows what other taxpayer-funded opportunity will be waiting for you by the time you get there.
Human Resources Department, 200 Lincoln Ave., 955-6597, 24-hour job hotline, 955-6742, santafenm.gov/jobs.asp
Santa Fe County
Last time we checked, most of county jobs available were either with the Corrections Department or the Sheriff’s Office. So if being a deputy, detention officer or “life skills worker” is your thing, this is the job board for you. If you aren’t interested in various facets of law enforcement, check the listings anyway. Lighter openings are bound to post eventually.
949 W. Alameda St., 992-9880, santafecounty.org/job_opportunities
State of New Mexico
Nurses, lawyers, social workers, civil engineers ... the state has a ton of job listings. And since state government in particular has the tendency to expand ... and expand ... and expand, it’s about as safe a bet as you can get these days. All you libertarians can start shaking your heads now.
State Personnel Office, 2600 Cerrillos Road, 476-7759, www.spo.state.nm.us
BUSINESS AS USUAL
So you lost your job. Big deal. No, really, it is a big deal. But, like a lot of other ex-employees in the same boat, maybe you’ve decided to use this hiccup in your career path as an opportunity to start on a new one—to stop being an employee and start being an employer, even if the only person you’re employing is yourself.
If you want to start signing your own paychecks, these organizations can tell you how.
Acción New Mexico
Need funding? Acción provides small business loans and lines of credit from $200 up to $150,000—for startups and existing businesses. And because it wants that money to do more than sit in your sock drawer, and do it well, it offers mentorship programs, coaching and a variety of workshops, most of which are free. From navigating headache-inducing insurance and taxes to preparing business plans, you can get most of your business questions answered here. Its website has a bunch of handy info, too. Note: Acción New Mexico headquarters is moving to Albuquerque’s Old Town area in late summer, so check online for the new address when it gets around that time.
20 First Plaza NW, Suite 417, Albuquerque, 505-243-8844, accionnm.org
Despite the New Agey title (EBS stands for “Empowering Your Business Spirit”), this collaborative effort from Northern New Mexico lenders, schools and business-assistance organizations is a one-stop-shop of sorts for the entrepreneurally inclined. Get the low down on financing, incentives, planning, training and oh-so-much more.
New Mexico Economic Development Department
Sure, NMEDD can help you find government-backed financing and tax incentives. But did you know that it can also help you get through the certification process that allows local manufacturers and other businesses to get government contracts and participate in international trade? Plus, NMEDD will help you find buyers. The program costs between $1,000 and $6,000, depending on what kind of company you have. But if you tried to do it solo, it would run you between $40,000 and $120,000. There are plenty of other ways it can save you money, too—like with its Job Training Incentive Program, which helps cover the cost of on-the-job training.
1100 St. Francis Drive, 827-0300, edd.state.nm.us
Small Business Development Center
This place will set you up with a “business officer” (does a badge come with that title?) to give you guidance on your company. For free. All you have to do is call to set up an appointment. And while you’re at it, check out the crazy number of workshops the SBDC offers, too.
6401 Richards Ave., 428-1343, nmsbdc.org/santafe
Regional Development Corporation
This nonprofit’s mission is to promote economic development in Northern New Mexico. And it oversees a host of programs that focus on that mission as well. Basically, that means it helps companies find opportunities for growth, whether that be through training, incentives or development.
2209 Miguel Chavez Road, Suite C, 820-1226, rdcnm.org
Santa Fe Business Incubator
Like the chicks you saw hatch under heat lamps in elementary school, businesses break through their shells under the watchful eyes of the Santa Fe Business Incubator. The nonprofit lets startups use part of its 30,000-square-foot space for an affordable price while in their infancy. It also provides workshops, shared equipment, on-site technical and business help, and other community resources.
3900 Paseo del Sol, 424-1140, sfbi.net
Santa Fe SCORE
A mentoring organization that partners with the Small Business Administration, our local chapter of SCORE can set you up with free counseling and workshops. Its presenters are heavy hitters, most of them ex-presidents or managers of high-profile national companies. But its services are intended for small businesses and nonprofits.
120 Federal Place, Room 307, 988-6302, santafescore.org
This nonprofit began with a focus on helping minority women become entrepreneurs (its name stands for “Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team”). While the group still works in that realm, it’s also expanded its range. Now anyone can get the benefit of its resources, like workshops on marketing, technology, managing money and running businesses online. WESST also offers loans up to $10,000 for startups and $50,000 for established businesses, with a special program for refugees.
3900 Paseo del Sol, Suite 322A, 988-5030, wesst.org, wesstartisans.com
There’s working, and then there’s networking.
Kachina Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication
Technophiles of the state unite. Web designers, graphic artists, tech writers and endearingly irritable IT workers all meet to talk about their love of the industry and insider scoops. Even if you’re a misanthropic hermit, you can peruse the job listings on its website.
New Mexico Technology Council
This association is filled with tech execs. Network through events, a personal profile you can create on its website and a number of online forums. And, yep, there are job listings here, too.
Santa Fe Alliance
Any city worth its locally sourced salt has an alliance for independent businesses. Santa Fe’s is very simply called the Santa Fe Alliance. On the second Thursday of each month (with occasional rescheduling for events like Zozobra), the Alliance hosts meetings—at local restaurants, of course—to get small business owners talking. There are also “Green Drinks” networking meetings sometime during the last week of every month. The Alliance also tries to connect local farmers with local restaurants, along with a variety of other efforts to promote the micro-over-macro movement.
320 Aztec St., 989-5362, santafealliance.com
Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce
Sure, the Chamber of Commerce was against the living wage law. But it has some good qualities, too. It hosts of ton of opportunities to get to know your fellow businesspeople, from banquets to luncheons to non-food-related get-togethers. Expos and job fairs are plentiful, as are the resources on its website.
8380 Cerrillos Road, Suite 302, 988-3279, santafechamber.com
You never thought you’d have to give another presentation after you graduated. But chances are, you were wrong. If the thought of speaking in front of your peers—be it a group of five or 500—leaves you twitching and twittering, and not in the social media sense, then you’d better find a Toastmasters club. They’re everywhere, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Just go to the website and look for the “find” button.
YOU GOT A LICENSE FOR THAT?
Your answer should be yes, yes you do. Before you become the next Steve Jobs, you’ve got to get yourself a business license. It’s only $35, but there are a few other things you need to do, too—like call the city inspections office to find out about getting a “certificate of occupancy,” and, if you’re opening a restaurant, call the Health Department to make sure you’re not breaking any codes. If you’re confused about what to do next, you’ve got plenty of resources at your disposal.
200 Lincoln Ave., license, 955-6551, inspections, 955-6646, santafenm.gov