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FARMINGTON – Lorenzo Reyes has been named the new director of the Center for Workforce Development at San Juan College.

A native of El Paso, Texas, Reyes was the CEO for Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande and was an adjunct faculty member at the University of New Mexico and El Paso Community College.

In an interview in his new office at the college, Reyes said he brings decades of experience in working at the state and nonprofit levels that will translate well to efforts toward improving job opportunities and skills in the area work force in San Juan County.

The value of the college as "one of the pillars" of economic development, he said, comes from its ability to bring various stakeholders to the table and develop programs that will lead to people finding jobs they are invested in and that offer a decent standard of living.

Economic development belongs on a college campus, he said, because academic institutions can develop job-training programs with input from industry and community organizations that will translate into an improved work force.

Reyes said his initial efforts in San Juan County will be to focus on three areas — developing programs for occupational training, adding programs that will lead to certification in areas like information technology and to offer companies customized corporate training that is tailored to a particular company looking to expand its services or base of operations.

"One very important contributor to the the success of a community is to foster the success of local businesses," Reyes said. "Most communities, it is 80 to 85 percent of the jobs that are created by companies that are already there. So one of our responsibilities is to assist them with specialized training and program support."

Bradley Purdy — dean of the college's School of Business, Information Technology and Workforce Development — said in a press release that Reyes' hiring strengthens the college's efforts to improve the employment situation in San Juan County.

“Dr. Reyes is a great addition to our team and will be integral to help San Juan College meet our commitment to the critical mission of workforce development in our community,” Purdy said in the release.

The center offers professional and technical training, including time management and leadership development courses, and brings together business resources and consulting services for the benefit of students, businesses and area organizations, according to the release.

For information about the San Juan College Center for Workforce Development and the Quality Center for Business, call 505-566-3501.

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.

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