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Businesses, jobs, training rebuild ABQ economy

Albuquerque’s economy is now on an upward trajectory, and the Economic Development Department (EDD) is working to ensure residents and businesses participate in the success. Under Mayor Tim Keller’s leadership, for the first time since 2008, we passed pre-recession peaks for total employment. Jobs are growing, workers have access to training, and businesses are staying open and in Albuquerque. We aren’t making the next Denver or Austin; we are building something uniquely local in measurable ways.

More than 1,300 high-quality jobs were created this year through the mayor and City Council’s Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) projects and three Industrial Revenue Bond (IRB) projects.

NBCUniversal is bringing 330 full-time jobs and $500 million in film and television production, an economic impact of $1.1 billion over 10 years. Jabil Inc. chose Albuquerque for a 3D printing center of excellence, building our tech hub assets, and investing nearly $42 million in new technology and equipment to create 120 jobs. And with a final vote from our City Council, clean-tech engineering company Kairos Power will invest up to $125 million, creating over 65 jobs with average salaries of at least $100,000.

We’ve committed $4.35 million in LEDA funds for these projects in partnership with the state. And, we’re using IRBs to revitalize key areas. Arrive Hotels & Restaurants will invest $22 million rehabilitating the iconic 1960s-era Hotel Blue at Central and Eighth, creating 75 jobs.

Dozens of public-private partnerships are funding construction from Central and Unser up to the Northeast Heights, including Nuevo Atrisco, Elevate, Zocalo, The Rail Yards, The Highlands – Marriott Spring Hill Suites, Broadstone Nob Hill and the historic De Anza Motor Inn.

As we recover from the recession, private development is taking off at Saw Mill Market, Hilton Inn + Homewood Suites, Presbyterian Downtown and UNM Health Sciences Center – just a sampling of the growth around the city.

In recruiting new business, EDD is capitalizing on unique assets and existing industries where we are competitive, like film and technology. Establishing Albuquerque as a film and tech hub created quality economic base jobs and opportunity for residents and small businesses alike while laying a foundation to attract other companies which, in turn, create even more jobs.

Six new initiatives led or supported by EDD in 2019 to close the opportunity gap are already having an impact. Each targets a specific demographic with business support and training tailored to specific needs and challenges.

Job Training Albuquerque, a CNM partnership, provides skills to meet workforce needs, including support for artisans, supervisor skills, digital marketing, cyber security, accounting and finance, operations management, project management and more.

The Small Business Office provides assistance to small businesses navigating city processes like permitting, licensing and contracting. Between September and the end of 2019 it already worked with more than 30 businesses.

The Southeast Albuquerque Success Center, a community-led facility, provides high-skill job training, certificate programs and, ultimately, career pathways to underserved, impoverished or minority residents, particularly Native Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans.

The International District Economic Development Center serves as a business incubator, assisting and connecting businesses in the historically underserved International District with resources and opportunities.

A Cultivating Coders partnership funds free, project-based digital skill training to underserved communities. And the African American Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, established with $40,000 from the city, promotes the growth of black-owned businesses, leadership development, entrepreneurial excellence and mentorship.

There is still much work ahead, to be sure. But with our focus on homegrown entrepreneurs, public-private partnership, progress in sectors where we know we have a competitive advantage, and investment in underserved communities, we’re turning the tide in our city.

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