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Albuquerque Economic Development Department Recognized with Six Prestigious International Awards

Awards highlight efforts in workforce development, small business support, and film.
September 20, 2023

The City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department (EDD) is the winner of six “Excellence in Economic Development” awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC); four workforce development and two film economy specific awards. The IEDC’s Excellence Awards recognize outstanding and innovative economic development projects that significantly enhance and revitalize communities, states, or regions. EDD excelled in a variety of categories, including workforce development, entrepreneurship, and the creative economy.

“The efforts of our economic development team are making Albuquerque a better place for our workforce, our businesses, and our families,” said Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael. “We will continue this work to build an economy that works for everyone by bringing good jobs and new industries to our community.”

“The EDD team puts in a tremendous amount of work to connect Albuquerque’s businesses and workforce to the services and support they need  to thrive, and we’re so grateful to see recognition for these efforts on an international  level,” said EDD Director Max Gruner. “Along with our partners, we’re building a united, inclusive, and equitable economic ecosystem for current and future residents.”

The EDD administers a wide variety of programs, services, and initiatives, and was recognized in four different categories for cities with a population greater than 500,000.

Job Training Albuquerque (JTA) won two gold awards in the following categories: 

  • “Partnerships with Educational Institutions,” for its work with Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) and CNM Ingenuity (CNMI). CNM and CNMI provide the administration and training courses for the City-funded program.
  • “Talent Development & Retention,” which recognizes programs that develop strategic approaches to strengthen the local workforce, enhance the skill sets of low-skilled and other disadvantaged workers, and increase employment opportunities and experiential learning opportunities, among other criteria.

JTA offers in-demand, transferable skills that meet the needs of Albuquerque small businesses and has experienced exponential growth since launching in 2020. Nearly 1,000 workers from 195 Albuquerque businesses have completed a program through JTA, and participating businesses have reported adding 629 jobs as a result of the initiative. JTA continues to add educational partners, most recently teaming up with Associated General Contractors of New Mexico to offer courses focused on the construction industry. Other JTA partners include New Mexico Child Care and Education Association and The University of New Mexico.

EDD landed a bronze award in the following category, for their efforts administering a workforce program made possible by grant support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation:

  • “Workforce Development Systems,” for a pilot grant program focused on creating new employment pathways for workers in the early childhood education sector. This initiative served 362 early childhood education job seekers, 94 percent of whom reported being low-income.

The New Mexico Minority Business Development Business Center won a silver award in the following category:

  • “Entrepreneurship,” recognizing the programs, policies, and initiatives that nurture and support individuals or emerging small businesses to develop into viable, competitive businesses by providing access to finances, services, experts, networks, mentors, technology, management resources, and fast learning environments.

The Albuquerque Film Office, a division of the EDD, also landed two awards from the IEDC: 

  • For the campaign, “We Are Albuquerque Film,” the Film Office earned a silver award for “General Purpose Print Promotion.” The campaign featured a high energy grid of diverse faces of actual film crew members, and was placed in multiple trade magazines targeted at decision makers in the film industry. 
  • The Film Office was recognized with a “Special Event” bronze award for their ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Premiere event at the historic KiMo Theatre in downtown Albuquerque.

“The Albuquerque community and our local crew and talent play a huge role in filming here, and we are sharing that locally and globally through our efforts,” said Albuquerque Film Office Liaison Cyndy McCrossen. “As the industry continues to grow, we want to expand our relationships and strengthen our role as the conduit between the City, residents, and the entertainment industry.”