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Socorro & Truth or Consequences 12/17 Echo

Attendees: Jay Wilson, Barbara Webber, Joe Martinez, Loren Schoonover, Melissa Ramsey, Kathy Gonzales, Jesse Griffith, Adrian Tapia


Melissa Ramsey: Director of Socorro Storehouse Food Pantry.


Kathy Gonzales: Director of local homeless shelter (Puerto Seguro)


Jesse Griffith: Teaches at Socorro High School - Visual Arts and Digital Media


Adrian Tapia: Department of Workforce Connections.


Luis Contreras: Student and grad student at NM Tech


JG: This week we’re wrapping up finals. From a teaching perspective, it’s been a challenge to follow up with students who don’t have the resources to succeed in online learning. People have lacked the skill sets to effectively navigate the new learning environment. Screening at the physical school has been good, take temperature regularly and use hand sanitizer. Have to readjust to different practices this year, which has been a big hurdle. Art and digital media are hands-on experiences, so teaching has become mostly tech support. This semester has been better than the spring, but there’s still a gap in online training.


KG: Has been difficult to keep providing services at the rate that people need them - a lot of the volunteers for the shelter were elderly people, so most of the volunteers were lost at the start of the pandemic. People have had to come in one-by-one to access services, which has cut down the number of people who can be served. 


MR: About ⅓ of the food that we had pre-pandemic. Since COVID hit, they’ve been giving extra food stamps to families and households. Some of the clients receive between $5 and $75, but that has been boosted tremendously at the federal level - now that that’s set to expire, there’s a danger of lapse.


AT: Right now we’re focused on getting people back to work safely. Current work is outreach to local businesses and adjustment as the situation changes.


LC: Biggest concern from a student perspective is making sure that people are still able to work and learn effectively remotely. There should be consideration of student needs. The institution says that they care, but there is a perception that they don’t.


What work is being done to make sure that people are able to return/enter the job force after the pandemic?

JG: Lots of dual credit and career-minded teaching at the school. Trying to give students the skills that they need to build a foundation for a career. Had been having success with that before COVID, but without face-to-face contact, it’s tougher to instill that mindset.

Rural Voices for COVID Recovery