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Bernalillo welcomes new job-assistance center

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The town of Bernalillo has become the latest rural community in New Mexico to open a HELP-New Mexico community service center.

The center at 149 E. Calle Don Francisco will be used to provide low-income adults and farmworkers with job training and job placement opportunities and other forms of assistance such as helping Sandoval County clients of the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Undersecretary Judy Canales joined local and state officials on Sept. 3 for a ceremony officially opening the center.

“Not only are we investing in Bernalillo in this particular facility,” Canales said, “but also it’s about the development of the people.”

People can get help with résumé writing, learning interview skills and conducting online job searches, said HELP’s Workforce Development Director Rita Garcia-McManus.

The USDA through its Community Facilities Program provided a $133,000 loan and a $50,000 grant to purchase and renovate the building.

HELP, which stands for Home Education Livelihood Program, was created in 1965 to create self-sufficiency and promote economic opportunities to strengthen New Mexico families. It now has 40 facilities throughout the state.

The Bernalillo center has six offices, a computer lab, conference room, kitchen, copy center and two bathrooms. Some of the space will be available for lease to local nonprofit agencies, Garcia-McManus said.

Mayor Jack Torres, who attended the ribbon-cutting, said there was great need in the community for the services that would be offered.

“The programs are designed to help people help themselves,” Torres said, “Having a resource like this will just be a benefit to us.”

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