National American University bringing 300 jobs to ABQ - Albuquerque Journal

National American University bringing 300 jobs to ABQ

National American University, a for-profit university that’s been in Albuquerque for 40 years, will gradually create about 300 jobs in Albuquerque through a consolidation of its back office, or administrative support services.

The Rapid City, S.D.-based university will hire 30-50 workers immediately for its Distance Learning National Operations Center, which is scheduled to open next month.

Staffing will gradually increase at a pace of about 50 people every few months, eventually reaching 300 employees in Albuquerque, according to a news release from the state Economic Development Department. At full build-out, the company expects to occupy 35,000 to 40,000 square feet of office space. The company  is in final negotiations for that space, according to a statement from Albuquerque Economic Development.

Offering a mix of online and classroom courses, National American University has 36 bricks-and-mortar locations in the Southwest, including one each in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, according to the university website.

The support services for students is now spread across the university system, Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela told the Journal. The university’s national center will later expand its operation for a new “Online 3.0” initiative, according to the news release.

Immediate job opportunities can be found at

Gov. Susana Martinez made the announcement Tuesday, the second day in a row that she has announced 300 new jobs in Albuquerque. Monday’s announcement was on Skorpios Technologies hiring for a production ramp-up in Albuquerque.

The state is providing $500,000 in Local Economic Development Act funding to National American University as an incentive to cover its real estate costs. The city is providing an additional $250,000 for the same purpose.

Salaries for most of the jobs are expected to be in the low to mid-$30,000 range.

NAU initiated its search by looking at 110 metro areas, according to the AED statement. Albuquerque was selected over two other finalist locations, Fort Worth and Phoenix.

“These are exactly the kind of results we want to see from our continued reform, and we want to keep up the momentum,” she told the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Albuquerque class earlier Tuesday about the university and Skorpios announcements.

The focus of much of the Martinez administration’s effort to improve New Mexico’s economic development competitiveness is to expand the private sector, she told the class composed of about 40 mid- to senior-level executives from the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Cutting business tax rates by 22 percent in 2013 and smoothing out peculiarities in the state’s tax structure has led to positive third-party reviews of New Mexico for being tax friendly to business, the governor said.

“You don’t want to have an unusual tax structure because (businesses) have to figure it out,” said Tom Clifford, Martinez’s secretary of finance and administration who also spoke to Leadership Albuquerque. “Regulation is an essential component of the marketplace. We all understand that. We need to be rational.”

The back-to-back jobs announcements come at a time when the state economy is struggling to gain traction.

New Mexico has continued to add jobs over the past year but apparently not enough to offset the number of people entering the workforce. New Mexico was one of seven states to register an increase in joblessness in September, with its unemployment rate rising to 6.8 percent from  6.3 percent a year earlier.

The average unemployment rate nationwide dropped to 5.1 percent in September, from 5.9 percent a year earlier.

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