The Job Training Albuquerque program has added new partners that will offer increased professional training opportunities for New Mexico small businesses and their employees.
JTA, a city-funded program first introduced in January 2020, will now include a multitude of new courses through several partners, including CNM Ingenuity, as well as its two newest partners, University of New Mexico Continuing Education and Associated General Contractors of New Mexico.
Allison Pendell Jones, senior program manager at CNM Ingenuity, said a variety of different trainings are available and encourages businesses to inquire about available options – adding that they are always trying to find new ways to help businesses meet their needs. Many small business owners in New Mexico have struggled to hire as the state faces a comparatively low labor force participation rate.
Pendell Jones said the application process is open to any small business that has fewer than 500 employees, is headquartered in Albuquerque and is registered as a business in the state of New Mexico.
Pendell Jones said that while some job training programs can come with a lot of requirements, the application process for JTA has been designed not to be cumbersome for small business owners. She said there are minimal requirements such as surveys. The key information is tracking how many jobs have been added and have wages increased as a result of the training.
Mark Zientek, workforce development liaison for the City of Albuquerque, said he sees the program as a grassroots effort that will be beneficial to all parties involved – businesses, employees, and the community.
Zientek said childcare and early childhood development were focuses for the first funding cycle of JTA. This funding cycle will prioritize health care and construction industries, although there are many New Mexico small businesses that can apply for the cost-free training opportunity.
“We’ve seen success already,” Zientek said. “We’re seeing that the metrics that we track are showing an increase in wages and jobs added.”
Zientek said the program’s original $1 million funding resulted in creating 312 new jobs and over $11.4 million in wage-earning power, which is the sum of the annual wages for the jobs businesses were able to add. He said data shows the program’s overall numbers have grown to 350 and $12.5 million, respectively, and are expected to continue to rise as more surveys are completed.
Laura Jimenez, market manager for UNM Continuing Education, said she sees potential in the program and the variety of options businesses and employees have to receive training and that she’s already seen an increase in enrollment since the partnership.
“We really focus on providing professional development programs that are tailored to our local community,” she said. “Our programs are pretty popular in general, but it’s the opportunity to open it up to even more people and businesses.”