RIO RANCHO, N.M. — A collaborative between Sandoval County hospitals, CNM, UNM West and the Sandoval Economic Alliance outlined a goal recently to bring more health care jobs to the county.
Members of the new Sandoval County Health Care Collaborative introduced themselves at last week’s NAIOP Rio Rancho Roundtable at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center.
Jamie Silva-Steele, president and CEO of UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center, and Angela Ward, interim campus administrator of Presbyterian Rust, spoke for the health care collaborative.
“Our vision is that a healthy economy is a healthy community, and vice versa,” Silva-Steel said.
The collaborative, created earlier this year, seeks to better educate the county’s health care workforce, provide health opportunities for residents and bring health care jobs to the county.
Tamra Mason, Central New Mexico Community College’s dean of health, wellness and public safety programs, and Beth Miller, UNM West’s director of outreach and strategic initiatives, spoke of opportunities each school can provide.
Miller said UNM West’s new community engagement program could offer students opportunities through internships. She said the program helps provide students “an opportunity to understand that what they learn in the classroom translates to a job at a business and it helps prepare them for a job, when they graduate, in the community.”
Many of CNM’s health care classes, Mason said, introduce students to career paths within the county.
Ward said strong health care education is “very much intertwined with economic growth.”
“The education curriculum that is needed for jobs in health care is actually very tied to efforts for growth and economic development in the community because we really want to be able to educate those who live here and educate them here locally for jobs they can take at companies that we have now and hope to bring in,” she said.
Ward said the collaborative wants to create a curriculum to make sure health care workers are prepared. To do so, it needs to understand what kind of jobs the group will bring in, she said.
The collaborative has provided SEA with a list of vendors both hospitals work with, Ward said.
“A lot of work has been done since then in vetting which organizations are logical to outreach to, to start talking about potentially coming here and doing business,” Ward said.
Jami Grindatto, CEO of SEA, and Richard Draper, project manager of the Sandoval County Health Care Collaborative, said the next step should be to focus on targeted marketing to bring health care jobs to the area.
Grindatto said SEA has separated Sandoval County into economic districts. With that work, he said, SEA and the health care collaborative know to advertise the Unser Boulevard corridor and City Center as locations for new health care jobs.
“At City Center, a central business district where, again, SRMC is an anchor, CNM and UNM are anchors, how do we create an ecosystem? From a health collaborative perspective, that’s a great place to create a tightly-knit ecosystem to grow head count, to grow talent and to continue to grow the economy in that space,” he said.
The collaborative will market readily available health care to attract new business, Draper said.
“At the end of the day, if we can get a ‘quality of life’ brand for new businesses, residents here, look at the investments as a community we’ve made – let’s talk about the priority that we put in this community on health care – that’s surely a good message to new businesses, new residents coming in,” he said.