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City, CNM introduce new job skills program

CNM is partnering with the City of Albuquerque on a new job training program aimed at giving employees at small businesses skills they need to advance. (Marla Brose/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A new partnership between the City of Albuquerque and Central New Mexico Community College is designed to give employees at small businesses skills they need to advance.

During a Thursday news conference, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and other city and college officials announced details of Job Training Albuquerque, or JTA.

Keller said the program will complement existing economic development programs at the state and local level by giving workers at small- to mid-sized companies skills to help them advance as employees, while removing barriers that keep companies from growing.

“We're trying to put together that chain of support services that can uplift a business,” Keller told the Journal after the event.

The program, funded through appropriations from the Albuquerque City Council, will cost $1 million over three years. Samantha Sengel, vice president of advancement and enrollment strategy for CNM, said individual training courses will include a mix of skills identified by local businesses as important, ranging from web design to digital marketing.

Sengel added that participating employees gain CNM credits and skills that can transfer to higher-level jobs. This, in turn, gives them the skills to oversee and work with new employees, eliminating a common barrier that prevents small businesses from hiring.

“The ultimate goal is that the skills and the training that are offered are contributing to the bottom line,” Sengel said.

Albuquerque and New Mexico operate several job training programs, including the Job Training Incentive Program, or JTIP. The statewide program funds classroom and on-the-job training for employees of companies that are expanding or relocating in New Mexico. The mayor praised JTIP, but acknowledged it doesn't work for every business.

“There's a gap in there, and that's where the city can step up,” Keller said.

He said JTA will be a particularly good fit for family businesses looking to scale up operations and add middle managers, as well as startups hiring for the first time.

Through JTA, companies will identify employees who want to develop a specific skill. Sengel said the first set of training courses will include supervisory training, digital marketing skills development, and business training for artisans and creatives. She added the program will meet in CNM classrooms when appropriate, but emphasized that employees will not simply be dropping in on college courses. The city and college are hoping for around 12 employees per group.

To qualify for the program, companies must be located in the city limits, have fewer than 500 employees and commit to increasing their workforce by at least one person over the next 24 months. For a full list of rules, visit www.jobtrainingabq.org.

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