Turbans and Work
First of all, people in Española, Santa Fe, and Los Alamos are used to Sikhs now, which means the turban is not such a big deal here when one is seeking employment or clients. Indeed, though one can encounter employment discrimination, a 40-plus year presence in Española has made local employers aware of us and often happy to employ us, no matter how we dress.
You must have a vehicle to live and work here. Mass transit is practically non-existent. Española is part of a tri-city/county area that includes Santa Fe and Los Alamos (cities) and the Counties they are based in (Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, Los Alamos). Commuting time from the Ashram to north Santa Fe is about 30 minutes, and to just about anywhere else in Santa Fe, 40-50 minutes. Commuting time to Los Alamos is 30 minutes. There is a Park & Ride bus system that travels between all three locales, and the RTD Blue Bus, which serves the Espanola/Rio Arriba area. Note: Albuquerque is 80 miles away, and not recommended for daily commuting from Española. Albuquerque is, however, the largest city in New Mexico and opportunities there abound.
Akal Security employ many Sangat members. Their offices are right in Sombrillo on Ashram property.
Akal Security - http://akalsecurity.com/employment/
There are many local businesses owned and operated by members of the ashram which provide employment for residents in the area. Here is a full list of businesses owned by local sangat members.
Job Market Generally
The job market in the Española area is limited, though more opportunities exist in nearby cities. A scan of ads in the local newspapers such as the daily Santa Fe New Mexican and the weekly Rio Grande Sun show a great need for medical nurses and administrators, dental hygienists, and social workers/counselors, and teachers, in addition to a variety of services jobs. Fluency in Spanish in addition to English will increase your job opportunities ten-fold, especially if your work involves the elderly, mentally and physically challenged people, at-risk youth, or if you work in the schools (K-12). However, you might find salaries in these fields lower than you expect.
The City of Santa Fe has a vibrant healing community of all types, and Española and Los Alamos have budding healing arts communities as well. If you are a healer moving here, your challenge will be getting established and gaining clientele (or market share). Elsewhere on this site is a link to Ashram Sangat members who are healers, and they would be good sources of information for you.
There is a dearth of good (non-Mexican) vegetarian restaurants in Española and of any kind of restaurant in Los Alamos. We need you!
Teacher’s salaries in the area are low, and school administration in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba Counties leaves much to be desired. Los Alamos County teachers’ salaries are higher and the administration is far more stable, so turnover is lower there. If you can deal with these issues and have a valid NM teaching license, you can probably find teaching work easily. Special Ed professionals are paid better than teachers and the need for them is great in the public schools here.
The Los Alamos Labs
The dominant employer here is Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which employs thousands of people from the tri-county area (Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and Rio Arriba Counties). Many businesses in northern NM have contracts with the Lab, or are Lab spin-offs. (LANL is one of two Federal nuclear weapons design/research laboratories.) Los Alamos County is thus a haven for scientists, physicists, and engineers of all types, and it is, consequently, one of the 10 richest counties in the U.S. However, it can take up to a couple of years to actually land a job with LANL, if that is one’s goal (partly because security clearances can take so long). Hiring from outside the lab is much diminished from prior years: since June 2006, a for-profit partnership led by Bechtel took over management of the lab contract under the Department of Energy, and since then has been laying off contractors and contract employees and transferring Bechtel employees to LANL from other facilities. Info on all employment opportunities is at http://www.lanl.gov/careers/career-options/.
Government & Gaming
The other two dominant industries in the tri-City area are state and local government and Indian gaming. Salaries are highest in Los Alamos County, and lowest in the city of Española. For example, an administrative assistant in Los Alamos County might start at $16 and hour, and the same position in Española would start at about half that amount. Santa Fe City/County is in the middle. This example holds for most all positions in the four local governments. (Rio Arriba’s County seat is currently in Tierra Amarilla and jobs with this County have historically tended to be patronage positions.)
The usual employment search steps apply: ads, networking, research, and a good resume. The more specific your job skills, the better your chances of finding work. Professionals such as lawyers, CPAs, engineers, architects, etc. should not have too much trouble finding employment. If you are an entrepreneurial type, do your market research if you want to succeed; this area is tough, since it is combination rural/farmer/ artist/urban/new age/conservative/liberal. Some Sangat women with administrative skills sign on with one of several temporary agencies based in Santa Fe, which is a useful way of getting to know what’s available. All the temp agencies (mostly based in Santa Fe) offer temp-to-perm opportunities as well.
Below are useful websites for jobs or newspapers from cities within reasonable driving distance.
Rio Grande Sun (Weekly newspaper)