Career preparation for our entrepreneurial ecosystem
To expand economic opportunities, especially as it comes to racial and income equity, we need to align skill development with the jobs we are creating and growing in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Career preparation and education in nontraditional tracks are crucial to this alignment.”Robin Brule, Chief Strategist, Albuquerque's Integration Initiative.
To reach the goal of creating 10,000 new, living wage jobs by 2025 we must change the game. Not only do we need more companies to start and grow here, we also have to ensure that Albuquerque has the skilled workforce it needs for these companies to thrive. This is the spot where economic development and education meet. And now, four years into our work as an Integration Initiative, it is increasingly clear: as a whole, we need to do a better job of connecting people with the resources that can help prepare them for careers in our local economy.
Talent and skill development in both traditional and nontraditional tracks are critical investments in the entrepreneurial ecosystem—and one of our five key strategy areas. However, better connecting people with the resources they need for careers in our local economy is by no means simple. Connecting the dots between existing efforts in education, career preparation and job creation across our city requires a common goal and willingness to collaborate. And of course, it also requires time. Our strategy to surmount this challenge of systems change has been to bring leaders together from across sectors. These teams of strategic thinkers practice a method called “listen, learn, adapt and get back,” which identifies strategies through collaboration, testing them in the community and adapting their approaches to reach desired outcomes.
Over the last two years our partners have made steady headway. CNM and UNM launched their 2+1+2 program, which allows students to get their associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years, and saves residents on average $23,600 in tuition and fees. The Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship has granted just shy of half a million dollars to support nontraditional entrepreneurial and business training programs at WESST, Technology Ventures Corporation, Creative Startups and Global Ties ABQ. This year, through a long-term partnership with Mission: Graduate and a new partnership with Albuquerque Public Schools, we are working to develop crucial soft skills and entrepreneurial thinking even earlier.
Each of these partnerships represents what is possible when we take on tough challenges. While progress is incremental, we are already sensing a shift in our city. Momentum is building and as we unlock our potential, we get closer to bringing about an age of opportunity for all in Albuquerque who seek it.