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Governor announces four-day job fair

SANTA FE – Faced with stubbornly high vacancy rates, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration is planning a four-day rapid-hire event in Albuquerque next week in an attempt to bolster the ranks of state government.

Hundreds of vacant rank-and-file state jobs could be filled at the event, Dec. 11-14 in Tingley Coliseum at Expo New Mexico, which will feature nearly all state agencies.

A Lujan Grisham spokeswoman said Tuesday that there is no target number for hires but expressed optimism that the allure of a fast-tracked hiring process could lead to a large surge in new state workers.

“We’re really trying to fill as many vacancies as we can,” said Nora Meyers Sackett, the governor’s spokeswoman.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has made building up the state government workforce a priority since taking office in January, after many agencies’ employee counts decreased during the tenure of her predecessor, former Gov. Susana Martinez, who sought to streamline state government.

But the vacancy rate in New Mexico’s executive branch has held at 22% this year, even after across-the-board 4% pay raises and increased recruitment efforts, due partly to high turnover rates.

The four-day rapid-hire event will feature on-site job interviews. Selected candidates will get same-day job offers, although those offers would be contingent on reference checks and, in some cases, passing a drug test.

“This is more than a job fair,” State Personnel Director Pam Coleman said in a statement. “The governor’s goal is for this to be a come-get-hired fair.”

The hundreds of posted positions include probation officers, social workers, fish and game wardens, computer specialists and attorneys.

Job seekers will be able to apply for two jobs per day at the event and should take copies of their resume, at least three references, a school transcript and proof of right to work lawfully in the United States.

In addition, candidates who are not able to travel to Albuquerque for the job fair will be able to interview by video at 20 different New Mexico Workforce Connections offices around the state.

Meanwhile, the event will mark the Lujan Grisham administration’s second round of job fairs. It held a series of similar rapid-hire events around the state in April.

There are now about 17,000 rank-and-file state workers in more than 60 agencies. That figure does not include political appointees, who can be fired without cause and are not subject to the state’s classified employment system.

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