Editorial: Exploring job issues in Taos

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Taos, like many towns, is facing multiple challenges when it comes to jobs.

A lot of businesses say they can’t find reliable employees.

Workers say it’s tough to find a job that pays a salary they can live on in an expensive town like Taos.

This week, we’re publishing the first of two stories exploring some of those challenges.

First, reporter Jesse Moya talks to business owners about why they seem to constantly have help wanted signs in their windows. Those businesses range from restaurants to stores. Many of the owners were reluctant to speak on the record for fear of repercussions in a small town. But the problem they have finding workers who will show up on time, provide good customer service and stick around for longer than a few months is a real one – and not one unique to Taos.

Coupled with increasing problems finding workers who can pass a drug test, it’s a dismal workforce outlook.

Next week, we’ll look at the issue from the workers’ viewpoint. Many of the businesses that have a hard time finding stable employees also pay minimum or slightly above minimum wage. That’s hardly enough to survive in a town like Taos, where everything from rent to gas to food costs more than in Santa Fe or Albuquerque. But those businesses are limited in what they can pay and still stay competitive. The second story will look at what a living wage in Taos would look like and what some workers think could be done to help more employees succeed.

Taos has long been a place where people joke you have to work two to three jobs just to make ends meet. Over the weeks and months ahead, we’ll dig into the issues around Taos jobs, employers, workers, wages and more, starting with these first two stories.

We’re aiming for solutions.

We hope you’ll help us.

Whether you are an employer, an employee, a person searching for work, a retiree or a young person exploring the job market, let us know what you think.

Read the stories in the next two weeks and then send us a letter with your thoughts or ideas. Comment on the stories via Facebook, private message us or email the editor at editor@taosnews.com.

We would love to hear from you.

Seeds for Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria didn’t just devastate Puerto Rico by wiping out its homes, roads, power grid and communications. It wiped out its organic farms and seeds. If you are a farmer or gardener with seeds to spare, the people of Puerto Rico need vegetables that grow quickly. Taos gardeners are already sending some. Seeds like kale, lettuce, spinach and chiles are all needed. 

Here are some places to send the seeds: 

• PR Resiliency Fund, Attn. Tara Rodriguez Besosa, 961 Bergen St., Apt. 4B, Brooklyn, NY 11216

• 1942 Broadway, Suite 409, Boulder, CO 80302

We’ll post a complete list of Puerto Rico’s seed needs at taosnews.com.

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