Category Archives: Workforce Development

The Illusive “Unicorn” employee

As an employer, in the course of your talent search, you look for applicants that have the skills you need for the job. You sift through many resumes, some well written, while others you wonder for the survival of the human race. Then you hit that weird resume, that resume that hits all your like points, that resume that almost speaks to you alone just saying “I’m here”. You cannot put it aside, a possible candidate that appears while dealing with the mountain of resumes in front of you.

Immediately an interview has to be set, you cannot wait to find out if this person is real.  You meet with this person and all the bells and whistles just go off, you’ve found your candidate. Better than that!! He or she does not need to be trained!!! They know what you need, could this be true? Could you have found that elusive employee, the one all employers seek, but never find……” The Illusive Unicorn Employee”?

Conversation definition

As you may have guessed or experienced, the illusive unicorn employee is a term I have coined to those employees’ employers would do whatever it takes to have in their payroll. This is the type of employee which you feel if you had ten more of him/her in your business, you would be successful and profitable.

The reality is……. There is no such thing as a unicorn employee, but employers still look for them no matter what and they won’t admit it. There are two realities that come with this assumption:

First, if employers want to attract a more skilled workforce, they are going to have to consider making employee retention their first priority. This is where battles for talent begin when one employer recruits from a competitor by raising their wages (you would not believe what one dollar can do to start a person thinking about quitting to move over). For a job seeker this means the need to know your skills, their level of expertise and how to sell them (in an interview) has become more important than ever to know.

Second, in finding this “unicorn” an employer will immediately see this applicant was trained. An actual employer took their time and effort to invest in this individual. The employer taught them how to do the job, how to properly execute and maybe even improve on the job. All these are vital skills that add to the applicant’s portfolios. This is one solution builds employee loyalty to the company and lowers the uncertainty if combined with regular performance meetings.

At this time if you have noticed, I have not mentioned anything dealing with raises. A raise would be the most wonderful thing…. for the employee. If the company is not doing well, raises are at the bottom of list when it comes to progressive prosperity for a company. There are other ways to retain an employee other than giving him/her more money. Currently “value” comes from seeing your impact on the company and on the community. The Gordon Gecko moment of the 80’s has passed and instead employees want to see the impact they have on their communities and families.

In looking at this mythical employee and how important the conversation today for employers on how to deal with the retention, attraction and growth of their employees, we come back to the relationship of employers and employees broken for decades now. Employers today do not see the need to train or invest in their employee because the employee is transitory or just a commodity to use and dismiss at will. As with anything which looks as a promising idea in the short term, this creates its own beast. if the employer doesn’t take care of the employee, the employee will take what they can and leave. And that means that anything an employee learns or acquires from the employer they can take with them if they leave.

There must be a push for employers to start investing in the retention of employees that have spent time and effort with the company. To truly be successful as a business person, an employer must control a large majority of what affects their business, without this you will struggle on an ongoing basis. For the employee, it is a must that you know where you want your career to go and how to stay on top of it. If you know what you are worth, then you should go after it, of course, but the mission is simple……sustain a successful career.

Careerpaths: Who are you? What do you want?

In determining a career path, we go back to 5th grade or the first career day at your school……what do you want to do when you grow up? Here is where the circus of pilot, doctor, firefighter come in for the amusement of young and eager children. The teacher becomes the “MC”, bringing in from distant lands the protector of the city – “The Police officer”. And in this other arena the healer with a thousand remedies – “The Nurse”. All the showmanship of careers and the exciting dream of what these eager young minds could become when they are older. This show of possibilities gets minds churning with the child asking themselves, what do I want to be? If the speaker’s exciting and persuasive the kid will know. “I want to be an astronaut” or “an Engineer”!

But the real question that does not come until sometime later in high school is ……who are you? And what do you want?

Who are you?

To determine what career you want, there will be a small internal conversation in your head trying to find out who you are, and do not think this is a one-time thing, with life changes, come career changes. You may have answered the question “I am doctor, but later in your life you come to terms you want to be a chef, very few of us see our career as what they are…… a “path”. Paths twists, bend, break or even change direction. The main point to remember is that the path is not set in stone. Which bring us to the next point.

What do you want?

So now the question come to the forefront, what do you want to do with your career? As simplistic as this question is, it must be answered to have a guide to what jobs you will be looking to do in your life. As you read this you may have already answered “I want what everyone wants, to make money!” Not everyone answers these questions the same way, money is not the driver as it used to be in the past. Now-a-days the call from younger workers and some older workers is to live your life as full as possible, the so called “balance of work and life”. This question really drives at how happy you will be with your given career and about what you want to get out of it. This question sets your path my action, it sets what type of jobs you will look for, how far you can go with your job and how much money you can achieve.

But do not forget as each of these two sections change who you are or will be your wants will change as well. If it is what was said at the beginning of our journey, the path will change, bend or even intersect with another’s path, our responsibility is to take hold of our careers and know how to make them work for us.
Good Luck.

Beautification of Sunland Park



The non-profit organization Southern New Mexico Project developed this project as per the one carried out by the city of Albuquerque, but instead of calling homeless people to work on a day job, we decided to call unemployed persons. They were paid the state minimum wage of $7.50/h, food was given at noon, and paid cash at the end of the day job.

The program was announced throughout the city districts with flyers and accepted women, students, and men over the age of 18.

It started on July 28, 2017 and finished on October 27, 2017. The area that was recommended to start by the Public Works Superintendent was Anapra, by the levee close to the river/ El Paso bridge and its surroundings. Days later after starting we had to come back and clean again because more debris and trash was thrown in the area.  Police Chief Mr. Guerra made a report on that incident. Between this start and the return to the area, the McNutt Road was cleaned of weeds and litter up to the entrance of Cristo Rey mountain. All work done extended around 10 feet to 15 feet, in average, towards the sides and in some cases more. The McNutt Road was worded up to the crossing with Sunland Park Blvd. Also, part of Racetrack Road was cleaned but we had to stop due to construction started on it.

  • At different times, the city sent us a 20 ft.
  •  long gooseneck trailer which made 5 trips of trash with an estimated weight of 2.5 tons on each load.
  • Also, the city sent us the help of the animal control employee to spray and control the rodents, ants and wasps nests many times.

Along the period of the pilot, 8 peoples left because they founded permanent jobs. To all, the programs of the organization were offered, which was the second goal of the pilot.

By the nature of the trash, the amount of it, the fast growing weeds, the tires, and mattresses we concluded that an education program towards the community and a good maintenance initiative would keep Sunland Park important Roads in good shape.


The Reality of Careers

In the past decade in blogs, news magazines, and television, careers come up every quarter or so presenting the hottest jobs, the jobs which pay the most, jobs which are high stress and so on. For some of us this is a call to really think whether we need to change, whether we are in the right field or whether we are looking for a job that “call” to us. All roads lead to one place CAREERS. Who are we? Or, who are we going to become?

Currently if you do not have a good education, chances of getting a “family sustaining” job become harder each year. But now education is getting expensive, that which assured equality (Education) will be now a privilege to the few. But in some areas, the internet has become the new equalizer with its now vantage of online learning, if you have the money. This push for further learning is to build what will become our identity once we are declared an adult……a career.

Throughout the US, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has come out emphasizing one major point for individuals……career paths. Career paths are the new hot ticket item trying to lower the percentage of individuals looking for work, and keeping folks working until retirement. Career paths are started in high school with big flair and hopes for students to follow their career plans to college, vocational or even to a job itself. WIOA has pushed the concept of supporting job seekers and employers, to integrate their services to better connect them with local and state efforts. 

Now here is where the reality sets in. we may agree with career paths and the need for workers to get more skills needed for evolving jobs, but if your main worry is to put food on the table, career paths take a strong back seat to other needs. Everyone, and I mean everyone, functions at the five levels a man by the name of Maslow theorized. Abraham Maslow theorized these levels of human motivation, that put on the workforce lens, do bring some guide as to how to tackle a career path. Most people that are looking for work will first worry about how to get the basic needs met (food, shelter and security). If this first part is not achieved, career paths are a quaint idea. All of us distinctly know we need to have this part of our lives fulfilled before taking our next step. That next step encompasses our mental needs (psychological) which brings the idea of career paths into a person’s main scope.

At this second part, the needs now turn to a psychological attainment of the company a person keeps and the feeling of accomplishments they wish to do throughout their career. Our sense of purpose takes over, we want to make a difference and how we are impact ourselves, our family and our community take a front role. This is where career paths are a wonderful addition to a person’s personal goals.

Taking on the challenge of career paths, one must see the entire person first and their focus to the type of career they are looking to fulfill. Are the looking for a job? Are they looking for a career? This is where wrap around services came into fruition. To some agencies and organizations this might prove as an obstacle, to others through collaboration and partnership, it will prove a way to put people into family sustaining careers.