Local economic development leaders all have opinions on what more can be done for New Mexico job growth, but say the best way to reach a solution is to work together.
In March, New Mexico’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent, down from 6 percent at the start of the year. That indicates the state is making strides toward bridging the gap between the jobs employers have and the skills workers have. But our state’s unemployment is much higher than the national average of 4.1 percent.
Synthia Jaramillo, the newly appointed director of economic development for the city of Albuquerque, said her team is working in proximity with Gary Tonjes’s Albuquerque Economic Development team, a relationship that wasn’t as close in previous administrations, she said.
AED is a nonprofit organization that works on recruitment of employers and works with the city on retention of employers.
Matt Geisel, the New Mexico Department of Economic Development’s Cabinet Secretary, also said his team partners with AED and other economic development organizations to try to retain businesses within the state. Geisel, like Jaramillo, allocates most of his time to meet with companies and explain the incentives they could qualify for.
The three agreed recruiting established companies that bring jobs to the state and helping existing New Mexican businesses are equally important. Tonjes said the biggest challenge when it comes to selling a company on Albuquerque is the lack of available infrastructure, like move-in-ready buildings, especially when it comes to those bringing a large amount of employees.
As AED welcomed Carenet Healthcare Services, a San Antonio-based health care company, on April 10 to Downtown Albuquerque, which will usher in 244 jobs, Tonjes and his team were joined by Jaramillo, Geisel as well as leaders in the political community like Gov. Susana Martinez and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller at the news conference.
Carenet CEO and founder John Erwin said at the news conference he considered expanding to New Mexico years ago, but at the time, the incentives he was looking for didn’t exist. Carenet qualified for Local Economic Development Act funding and will receive $636,566 from the state.
By: Ron Davis (ABQ Business First)
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