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Martinez to Make Jobs Training Permanent

November 18, 2013

Winthrop Quigley, Albuquerque Journal

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Nov. 15--Gov. Susana Martinez, in an attempt to help make New Mexico's business environment more predictable, will make the state's Job Training Incentive Program a permanent part of her annual Economic Development Department budget request to the Legislature.

Speaking Friday at Prime Therapeutics, a pharmacy benefits manager and prescription drug distributor on Albuquerque's West Side, Martinez said JTIP is "an invaluable tool to help you grow your presence here. ... We need to give this program the stability and predictability it deserves by making JTIP permanent."

Prime Therapeutics, based in Eagan, Minn., credited the $331,431.66 in JTIP funds it received in October with helping the company add 47 jobs to its 300-person Albuquerque workforce.

Prime, which is owned by 13 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies and their affiliates -- including the parent of New Mexico's Blue -- plans to add 33 more jobs in the near future.

JTIP helps fund classroom and on-the-job training for qualified employees and reimburses companies as much as 50 percent to 75 percent of employees' wages during training, depending on where the business is located.

Martinez said JTIP has never had a regular source of funding. Sometimes it is included in the budget; other times it receives a special appropriation.

Prime Therapeutics is adding 36 pharmacy technicians who will earn from $13 to $19.33 an hour, six pharmacists earning from $41.60 to $60.50 an hour, and other positions, according to the Economic Development Department.

Prime CEO Eric Elliott said the company chose to expand in New Mexico in part because it could get the skilled workforce it needs, not only because of JTIP but because Central New Mexico Community College is producing many of the graduates the company requires.

Elliott said New Mexico has an environment that is "supportive of business," with reasonable regulation on Prime's industry and favorable corporate and personal taxation.

The company serves 23 million customers nationally, employs 2,900 people and has operations in Albuquerque; Irving, Texas; Omaha, Neb.; Orlando, Fla., and Pittsburgh.

The company opened its Albuquerque facility in 2006 with a $10 million investment.

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(c)2013 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at www.abqjournal.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Original headline: Gov. to make job-training funds regular part of budget request


Source: (c)2013 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

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