Category: Institute, Staff, Trainings

Date: February 08, 2024

Youth Skills-Based Training: Recruiting a New Generation of Social Workers

New Mexico Highlands University’s Facundo Valdez School of Social Work (FVSSW) is proud to announce a pioneering one-day skill-based training event for New Mexico high school students interested in pursuing a career in social work. This initiative, set to take place on March 7 at the Berna Facio Professional Development Center in Albuquerque, aims to address the critical shortage of social work professionals in New Mexico, focusing on serving rural and tribal communities.

Dean Cesar Abarca of the FVSSW emphasizes the importance of creating meaningful partnerships beyond the university’s walls to foster a brighter future for the profession and the communities it serves. “Our goal is to lay the groundwork for a robust pipeline of well-trained social workers who are ready to meet the unique challenges of our state, particularly in underserved areas,” said Dean Abarca.

The event is a collaborative effort with the Albuquerque Public School’s Indian Education Program, led by Director Mr. Philip Farson and his dedicated team, marking the first step towards achieving Dean Abarca’s vision for the school. Participants will have the unique opportunity to learn directly from FVSSW’s esteemed faculty and staff, gaining insights into topics typically covered in social work courses.

The training agenda includes sessions on Introduction to Social Work and Helping Professions, Cultural Competence in Social Work, Communication Skills for Social Workers, Ethical Considerations in Social Work Practice, and Case Studies and Practical Applications. This comprehensive program is designed to equip students with the foundational skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career in social work.

Students who complete the training will receive a certificate acknowledging their commitment to pursuing a career in social work or a related field. This certificate can serve as a valuable addition to their academic portfolio.

Registration for the event is open until March 1. Interested students and school staff are encouraged to register through the provided link Survey Monkey. For additional information, please contact Dr. Melissa Riley at or 505-260-6181.



Dr. Riley is an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe of New Mexico. She has worked in the field of social work for over 23 years and is currently the Director of the Native American Social Work Studies Institute. Her passion is working with people and teaching and learning new things.


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