“The younger ones learn it better than the adults,” he said. “They’re more impressionable.”
Berry, who conceived of the idea while serving in the state Legislature, said he hopes the program will help young people connect with future employers. He plans to expand, as early as spring, to other fields such as the film, medical and financial industries. That expansion is being planned under the direction of Running Start for Careers coordinator Carol Biondi, who was brought into the Mayor’s Office through a $150,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation to get the program started.
Berry urged industries seeking to develop their future workforce to contact the city about collaborating on an elective course.
Roxanne Rivera-Wiest, president of ABC, said the program is beneficial to industry because many workers in construction trades are baby boomers nearing retirement.
“Baby boomers are going to be retiring in droves, and we’re going to need skilled tradespeople to take their place,” Rivera-Wiest said.
The recession has been hard on the construction industry in New Mexico. Still, contractors are looking to bring on young people so they will be prepared when the economy improves, she said.
“I know a lot of our contractors are wanting to take on young people and get them trained as apprentices, so when the times do turn around, they have that skilled workforce ready,” she said.
If students complete the class successfully, they will receive a certificate showing pre-apprenticeship or career development, which they can present to future employers. Berry said he hopes employers will recruit students straight from high school to the workplace.<< previous 1 2