“Building a Better Workforce” is the theme of this employer—centric program in New Mexico’s key southern Borderplex region. Target industries in this region include Manufacturing/Logistics, Aerospace, Renewable Energy, Business/ Financial Services, Technology, Agriculture, and Digital Media. There is a young and growing workforce within a population of 215,000 with just under half living in Las Cruces, NM (2nd largest city in New Mexico).
Challenge: Develop the Emerging Workforce
Doña Ana county has a young and growing workforce, many of whom are from first generation immigrant families. While the youthful demographic trends of the local workforce is attractive to potential employers, there is an ongoing need to help the emerging workforce acquire the “work readiness” skills which will help them, and their employer, be successful.
Solution: Skills Based Hiring Using Workkeys®
In response, the Skill-Ready Doña Ana (SRDA) program was launched by the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce with help from a grant from Innovate+Educate. SRDA brings together employer champions, the education sector, state and local government, and other key organizations around proven “work readiness” strategies. An employer-centric program, SRDA focuses on improving ROI for employers while providing youth critical “work readiness” skills. The “work readiness” framework includes cognitive skills measured by ACT WorkKeys®, and an ongoing effort to refine “soa skills” metrics. A longer term goal is to reach a tipping point in employer adoption that creates a broader community impact. One year after the initial program launch, the list of endorsing employers continues to grow, and more youth are earning work readiness credentials that employers understand and are requesting in their hiring processes.