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US doles out relief dollars to build employment pipelines

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — With the highest unemployment rate in the nation, New Mexico is banking on an infusion of federal relief money through the American Rescue Plan to boost the job market in a poverty-stricken corner of the state. Top federal officials announced the funding Wednesday, saying $500 million is being doled out for programs in more than 30 states and Puerto Rico. New Mexico is getting a fraction of the funds. State officials said the $6.4 million will be used to develop an employment pipeline through partnerships with community colleges, local hospitals, construction firms and unions in northern New Mexico. The funding comes amid raging inflation and rising interest rates in a state where joblessness continues to outpace the national average.