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Mayor Berry Launches Talent Albuquerque

Program to align the skills and abilities of workforce with the needs of employers

August 8, 2013

Albuquerque, NM – The new initiative, Talent Albuquerque will advance Albuquerque’s workforce and connect Albuquerque’s working families to jobs and opportunities allowing them to increase their skills and find compatible employment.  Talent Albuquerque brings key partners together including the W. K. Kellogg Foundation New Options Project, CNM, NM Department of Workforce Solutions and the tremendous resources of the city’s libraries and community centers.  

"A key goal of my administration is to advance job creation opportunities by supporting business growth and expansion and ensuring our workforce has the skills and abilities to meet the demands of the marketplace," said Mayor Richard J. Berry.  "Albuquerque is home to some of the most successful, innovate industries; everything from aerospace, manufacturing and technology companies.  These businesses need skilled workers.  Talent Albuquerque will help connect and align the skills and abilities of our residents with the needs of employers, while at the same time providing jobseekers with knowledge and training opportunities that can lead to life-long career success.  We are excited to be leading the nation as the first metro community nationwide to embrace this model," continued Berry.

Talent Albuquerque includes 26 "Skill-up" centers including city libraries, community centers, and CNM Connect Centers with free access to Albuquerque residents, a comprehensive website that brings resources to jobseekers and the workforce development sector, a promotional campaign that highlights the benefits of skills-based assessments using ACT WorkKeys™ and the expansion of an employer outreach program to engage business leaders in a process that will improve the quality and work readiness of its workforce.

"Talent is the number one issue a company considers when making a decision to relocate.  Talent Albuquerque under the Mayor’s direction addresses the talent component head on, something no one else is doing," said John Garcia, Economic Development Director for the City of Albuquerque.

Innovate+Educate is an industry-led, "think and do" nonprofit working to advance the use of skills-based credentialing, hiring, and training to close the skills gap and bridge the opportunity divide.  Through advance research, nation-wide movement building, and community-based program development services, Innovate+Educate is creating sustainable ecosystems that prove skills-based hiring and training. Their efforts are opening new pathways for job seekers, benefits for employers, and strengthen communities.

"There has never been a better time to launch and grow an initiative that will better bridge the workforce requirements of employers with the available skills and talents—acquired in both traditional and non-traditional ways—of our community’s workforce," said Jamai Blivin CEO of Innovate Educate.  “Our research has found that degrees alone are not predictive of job success.  In fact, there are many factors that are much more predictive of job performance than a degree from a college or university. Job experience is twice as predictive, a reference check is 2.5 times, while a job tryout is over 4 times more predictive, and a cognitive assessment is 5x more predictive.  Even an interview is 40% more effective at predicting job performance.  This is true of low- and medium-skill jobs, but even truer of high-skill jobs."

Talent Albuquerque and the Claim Your Talent Campaign will fuel a system-wide increase in the use of cognitive, skills-based hiring strategies by employers and provide marketable, skill-up opportunities for jobseekers.

"We believe an increase of use of skills-based assessment and hiring strategies will lead to greater career opportunities for young, out-of-school job seekers--as well as other job seekers--challenged by the barriers of degree requirements and other traditional hiring practices,” adds Blivin.  "Our ability to expand opportunities for jobseekers would not be possible without the partnership with the New Mexico Department of Labor (NMDWS) and CNM, the state’s largest community college."

"Under Mayor Berry’s leadership and with our great partnerships, Albuquerque has become an attractive global aerospace and technology research hub, with opportunities for new jobs on the horizon," said Secretary Celina Bussey, Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.  “If New Mexico is going to continue to be a prime location for these and other high-growth industries, we will need the government, business, education, and workforce development sectors to work together to better align and bridge the skills of our residents to the present and future workforce needs of small and large businesses.  The Talent Albuquerque initiative is helping us develop a system and set of tools to do just that."

The "Claim Your Talent" website –, also accessible from – provides more information on skills based hiring using the ACT WorkKeys system and brings together in one convenient online location all the  credentialing and training resources provided by City of ABQ, Innovate+Educate, CNM and area community based organizations.