San Juan County, N.M. Navigates Workforce Training and Industry Expansion

san juan county take 2
san juan county take 2

BRECC Partner, Community Builders, captured this coal community story in San Juan County, N.M. Read more here.

Many communities working to diversify their economies face a common dilemma: the “chicken and egg” challenge of workforce re-training. On one hand, it’s difficult to determine which industries the existing workforce should be re-trained to, but it is equally difficult to develop or attract a new industry if the workforce isn’t trained to fill those jobs. So, which should be addressed first, re-training or industry expansion? In San Juan County, New Mexico, key partners in economic development and education are coming together to answer: both.

Scenic, rugged, and rural, San Juan County forms the New Mexico corner of the famed Four Corners and occupies a land area larger than some U.S. states. Historically, the region’s economy has been largely supported by two power plants, a coal field, and natural gas extraction and production. The County has long been impacted by the ongoing boom and bust of gas prices, and now faces significant closures of coal mining and power generation. San Juan Generating Station, previously New Mexico’s single largest carbon emitter, closed in 2022 and the Four Corners Power Plant, located just to the south on the Navajo Reservation, is slated for closure in 2031. When the estimated 600 remaining power plant and mine jobs are lost there is the added risk of losing the region’s skilled workforce that filled those high-paying jobs as they seek opportunities elsewhere. Continue reading here

Read the full blog post, Four Corners Partners: Expanding Skills for an Expanding Economy, at


Deputy County Manager, Steven Saavedra, presented on San Juan County's BRECC Economic Diversification Strategy at the BRECC Action Challenge Capstone in Washington, D.C. on February 9, 2024. Read San Juan County's Economic Diversification Plan here.

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