Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

5 questions we’ll be asking in Albuquerque this week

As Philly grapples with stubborn levels of poverty, one New Mexico city could yield some lessons. Tag along for this reporting trip to Albuquerque, funded by Broke in Philly.

Albuquerque beckons.

(Photo courtesy of Visit Albuquerque)

Wednesday, at 6:28 a.m., this reporter heads southwest.

As part of Technical.ly’s participation in the Broke in Philly reporting project — a 21-newsroom collaborative effort focused on economic justice — I’ll spend the better part of this week hitting the streets of Albuquerque, N.M., to explore ways local organizations have taken on tech-driven workforce development as path out of poverty.

The central piece to the trip revolves around TalentABQ, a four-year joint initiative between nonprofit Innovate+Educate, the City of Albuquerque, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and Central NM Community College.

The goal of TalentABQ?

  • Helping employers find the workers they need while connecting people to jobs that rely on skills-based hiring.

How?

  • By de-emphasizing four-year degrees as a requisite.

TalentABQ was relaunched last Friday as OneABQ: Job Source, and tech is obviously part of the solution: the site uses geographic and transit data to match jobseekers with open jobs. There’s also a tech-heavy training component, but we won’t spoil you with all the details.

Last week I appeared on WURD Radio, a fellow Broke in Philly newsroom, to discuss what I lessons I hope to bring back to Philly. Take a listen here:

Here are five questions I’ll be asking in New Mexico:

What has worked?

Statewide data shows a modest, yet steady drop in poverty levels: From 22 percent in 2014, to 19.7 percent in 2018. So, clearly, something’s been working in the Southwestern state. We’ll ask about the most impactful programs and solutions Albuquerque has been able to find.

What hasn’t?

Perhaps the most impactful question, in light of Philly’s shortcomings in the fight against poverty. What pitfalls should Philly be on the lookout for?

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What’s a way to streamline cooperation?

The project banded together several stakeholders and local employers. How did they manage to get along?

(Philly’s local government and the tech community have already taken a step forward in this respect with the creation of the Tech Industry Partnership.)

Has the initiative been successful at steering POCs away from low-paying jobs and into career paths?

We’ve heard it from community members like Sylvester Mobley: workforce development efforts have historically grouped people of color in low-paying jobs in tech. How has the Albuquerque push sought to take racial inequities into consideration?

What does a success story look like?

I look forward to meeting participants in the process, like Marisol, who connected with internships and mentorship through the TalentABQ platform.

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P.S. Want to tag along for the trip? You can follow me here for updates, and tweet me any questions you’d like me to ask.

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