FARMINGTON — Unemployment has affected all sectors of the workforce, and that includes young people.

To address this growing need, New Mexico Job Corps will be holding a youth job fair Wednesday at McGee Park.

"We're hoping to attract young people ages 16 to 25 from throughout the county," said Job Corps Career Advisor Mark Marquez, adding that it is not too late for employers to participate in the fair.

Booth space will be provided to employers and organizations free of charge.

The need for such career fairs to assist youth in locating employment appears to be increasing nationwide.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, unemployment among youth increased by 836,000 from April to July of 2012, compared with an increase of 745,000 for the same period in 2011.

The youth labor force grows sharply between April and July of each year, as high school and college students search for summer jobs, while others graduate and begin to search for permanent employment.

Approximately twenty businesses and organizations have registered for the fair, including PESCO, McDonald's, Safeway, Basin Home Health Care, the Apache Nugget and Sunray Park Casinos, Navajo Technical College, and all branches of the armed forces.

Marquez hopes more companies in the food and hotel industry will sign up to participate in the fair.

Marquez said the rising unemployment rate among local youth is being influenced by several factors.

"There are transportation issues, and people can't get to jobs. There's also a location issue.


Many people live in rural areas such as the reservation," said Marquez. "For this reason, we're trying to get the Navajo Nation to work with us more closely," to address these issues.

In addition to high school drop-outs and homeless youth, Marquez said there is a large percentage of young people who did complete high school or college and have some vocational or trade skills, but simply cannot find local jobs.

"Many are having to leave the state to find jobs," he said. "But there are some jobs that are available here that have just not been announced."

Another goal Marquez has for the job fair is to get the word out about local resources that can help connect people with employment, such as New Mexico Workforce Connection, located at 600 W. Arrington Street in Farmington.

Workforce Connection offers resume-building and test-taking help, and also has an extensive database job-seekers can use to locate local jobs.

"Many young people don't even know about Workforce Connection," he said. "If I mention the unemployment office, they will make the connection but many don't even know where Workforce Connection is located."

Workforce Connection has been helping Job Corps prepare for the fair, and will be available at the fair to provide resource information to job-seekers.

Jackie Allen is Workforce Connection's Regional and Site Manager for Farmington.

Allen said that although her agency's primary customers are adults, she agrees there has been an increase in youth who are seeking jobs.

"We do have youth come in who are trying to get employment, and there just aren't enough jobs," she said. "There are very limited opportunities for youth here."

Leigh Black Irvin may be reached at; 505-564-4610. Follow her on Twitter