Main Street building sparks interest

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

A local workforce training organization is interested in buying a building on Main Street to unify its resources, according to officials.

The Eastern Area Workforce Development Board is negotiating the purchase of the old Ace Pawn Shop on First and Main streets, according to Board Chairman Jimmie Shearer.

Federal and state funds would be used to purchase the building, Shearer said.

“We are trying to come up with a single building that would house all the different agencies for (workforce) training. We want to pull all those people together in one location,” Shearer said Wednesday.

The board provides workforce training and social services for 12 eastern New Mexico counties. In that pursuit, it employs more than 12 agencies with federal and state funds.

Many duties are delegated to Clovis Community College, officials said.

The college manages programs for underprivileged families through a contract with the board, according to CCC Vice President Becky Rowley.

“We would be a big participant (in operation of the new building),” Rowley said.

The Eastern Plains Council of Governments acts as an administrative and fiscal agent for the board, according to Shearer.

Three other workforce training boards operate across the state, Shearer said.

The Eastern New Mexico Area Workforce Development Board would be stronger if its resources were concentrated in one building, Shearer said. Currently, contracted services operate independently in separate buildings throughout the area, Shearer said.

“It’s about getting all the resources in one place so we can share resources,” Shearer said. “Each (contracted agency) has its own reception staff, its own rent and utilities.
“We’ve already seen from the rent standpoint that there is a lot of money to be saved.”

Shearer said that services offered at the Clovis Community College workforce training building on Mitchell Street would be offered at the new building and cease to be offered at the Mitchell Street building, should the deal be sealed.

Contracted staff who currently operate at other locations could move to the new building or stay at their current locations depending upon many factors, including the nature of their work, Shearer said.

Financial details still must be settled before the project can move forward, but Shearer said he is confident the deal will work out.