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$400,000 Awarded to ABQ's TechHire Initiative & Youth Employment Initiative

October 26, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE - Today Mayor Richard J. Berry along with Innovate+Educate announced combined funding of $400,000 from the City of Albuquerque and The Rockefeller Foundation to continue their work in Albuquerque, NM to advance a competency-based pathway to employment based on skills.   Skills based hiring, an innovation of Innovate+Educate’s that goes back to W. K. Kellogg Funding in 2011 in New Mexico has taken a concept to reality as the nation continues to face a crisis in unemployment, high cost of degree attainment, low placement of degreed students, and many skilled workers not able to find jobs under the traditional hiring methods used over the past 50 years.

Last week, the Albuquerque City Council approved funding of $200,000 to Innovate+Educate to expand their successful Talent ABQ model to a focus on IT related jobs (which includes many adjacent jobs that require IT skills).   Under the leadership of Mayor Berry, Albuquerque was one of 21 initial cities that committed to the White House Tech Hire initiative in 2014 with a goal of opening up jobs that required IT skills to workers that had not been seen in the traditional system of hiring.  The funding is being matched by The Rockefeller Foundation’s grant to Innovate+Educate opened just last week in support of advancing skills based hiring to unlock new employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth. 

“We believe the Mayors’ commitment to TechHire and the commitment from The Rockefeller Foundation places Albuquerque in a leadership role to advance skills based training, skills based hiring and advancing social mobility for the many workers being left behind,”  remarked Jamai Bilvin, CEO of Innovate+Educate. “At no time in history have young adults been left out of the employment arena as much as they are currently, and these combined funding opportunities allow Innovate+Educate to continue their research and implementation on the ground to work with employers on changing this.”

Mayor Berry added, “We believe Albuquerque has an opportunity to lead other cities in the TechHire initiative, as much of the foundation has already been established by the work of our initiative Talent ABQ.As Mayor, I know that creating opportunities for disconnected youth is a critical part of cultivating our future workforce in Albuquerque, and I applaud The Rockefeller Foundation for their vision and leadership in this area. We welcome the launch of this work in our city and state.”

“Through its Youth Employment Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation is advancing impact hiring, a set of solutions that can promote business benefits to employers while opening new doors for disadvantaged youth. Skills based hiring is one example. Through this practice, employers are better equipped to identify the talent they need for open entry level positions—talent they’re likely to overlook when using more traditional but less effective hiring methods” said Abigail Carlton, Associate Director at The Rockefeller Foundation.

“It is important to add that none of this would be possible without our established partnerships with the New Mexico Workforce Connections Center, UNM Career Center, CNM, Goodwill, Hispano Chamber of Commerce, SHRM NM ABC Community Schools, and the many youth provider partners in Albuquerque that are core to the work.  It is about an ecosystem, and the ecosystem in Albuquerque is like none other,” stated Blivin.   “But, the employers are key, and we need them to step up to the challenge to change their hiring practices and add skills/competencies to their jobs.  It is easy, and it provides ROI to the employer, so why not?”


About Talent ABQ

Talent Albuquerque is a joint initiative between Innovate+Educate, the City of Albuquerque, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Central New Mexico Community College to advance Albuquerque’s workforce and help employers find talent using skills-based hiring. The goal of Talent ABQ is to connect job seekers and employers through the common language of skills, so that all citizens have access to opportunity and employment. Talent ABQ is a national pilot for skills-based hiring and is the first program of its kind in the country. For more information, visit