HOUSE BILL 303
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024
Linda Serrato and Cristina Parajón
RELATING TO SOCIAL SERVICES; CREATING A PILOT PROGRAM USING FEDERAL TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES BLOCK GRANT FUNDING TO PROVIDE ECONOMIC SUPPORT IN THE FORM OF MONETARY STIPENDS TO NEW MEXICO RESIDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE PILOT PROGRAM; REQUIRING PARTICIPANTS TO BE ENROLLED IN CERTAIN WORKFORCE TRAINING PROGRAMS; PROVIDING FOR PARTICIPANT ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA AND PROCESSES TO APPROVE WORKFORCE TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES OR FIELDS; PROVIDING DEFINITIONS; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Higher Education Department Act is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in Sections 1 and 2 of this 2024 act:
A. "participant" means a New Mexico resident approved by the department to participate in the pilot program;
B. "pilot program" means the New Mexico workforce training economic support pilot program; and
C. "workforce training program" means a training or educational program, including an apprenticeship or other work-based learning program accredited by a state institution of higher learning, that, upon successful completion by a participant, the participant will earn a certification, license or credential or will have acquired specialized qualifications or skills recognized within an industry or field as appropriate to obtain employment in that industry or field."
SECTION 2. A new section of the Higher Education Department Act is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] NEW MEXICO WORKFORCE TRAINING ECONOMIC SUPPORT PILOT PROGRAM--CREATED--ADMINISTRATION--ELIGIBILITY--MONETARY STIPEND--RULES.--
A. The "New Mexico workforce training economic support pilot program" is created within the department as a five-year study. The purpose of the pilot program is to:
(1) demonstrate that the state can measurably increase access to living wage jobs, thereby meeting the state's needs for jobs in high-demand industries and fields and reducing poverty, increasing financial stability and lowering dependence on government services for participants by providing ongoing economic support through monetary stipends during the period in which those participants are enrolled in and attending certain department-approved workforce training programs;
(2) develop and implement eligibility criteria for New Mexico residents to participate in the pilot program. Criteria for consideration should include current income, education and employment status of applicants to the pilot program, and eligibility criteria shall not restrict participants based on immigration status;
(3) develop and administer an economic support program to provide participants with ongoing monetary stipends to enable the participants to acquire training and skills necessary to obtain employment, earn a living wage and, in the process of acquiring that training, to prevent income, housing and food insecurity. The stipends provided pursuant to this paragraph should cover the costs associated with basic living needs, including housing, food and transportation, and the costs associated with enrolling in and attending a workforce training program; and
(4) identify and approve workforce training programs in the following priority industries or fields:
(a) health care, including behavioral health;
(b) early childhood education or care;
(c) natural resources management;
(d) renewable energy;
(e) broadband expansion;
(f) first responders;
(g) construction industries;
(k) film and television;
(l) outdoor recreation;
(m) sustainable agriculture;
(n) intelligent manufacturing; and
(o) global trade.
B. The department shall develop, implement and administer the pilot program created in Subsection A of this section and may collaborate with other state agencies, members of the business community, worker organizations, including trade unions, appropriate nonprofit organizations and community organizations, as deemed appropriate. In developing the pilot program, the department shall:
(1) determine eligibility requirements for applicants wishing to participate in the pilot program; provided that eligibility shall require New Mexico residency but shall not be restricted based on immigration status;
(2) determine processes, procedures and forms required for application to participate in the pilot program;
(3) determine processes and criteria for approval of workforce training programs and for ongoing reviews of those programs;
(4) determine processes and procedures, including internal controls, interagency agreements or other requirements, that may be necessary to use federal temporary assistance for needy families block grant funds to provide monetary stipends to participants;
(5) no later than October 1, 2024, determine and recommend to the legislative education study committee participant eligibility requirements and appropriate dollar amounts for monetary stipends depending on factors, including a participant's selected industry or field workforce training program, income and education levels and any other relevant factors deemed appropriate by the department; and
(6) no later than December 1, 2024, promulgate and adopt rules for the administration of the pilot program."
SECTION 3. APPROPRIATION.--One million dollars ($1,000,000) is appropriated from the federal temporary assistance for needy families block grant account to the higher education department for expenditure in fiscal years 2025 through 2029 to develop and administer the New Mexico workforce training economic support pilot program and to hire one full-time-equivalent position to administer the program. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2029 shall revert to the federal temporary assistance for needy families block grant account.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2024.
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