Skills-based job fair in Albuquerque targets New Mexico’s youth

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Twenty businesses are looking to hire, and they’re targeting New Mexico’s youth in a special event this week in Albuquerque.

Nathaniel Long, 21, registered for Thursday’s first ever skills-based job fair.

“I’ve been bouncing around from high school to high school, so I couldn’t really officially graduate,” Long explained.

He’s currently looking for a job, and he’s not alone.

According to the non-profit, ‘Innovate + Educate,’ there are more than 20,000 young adults ages 16 to 24 out of school and out of work in Bernalillo County.INNOVATE EDUCATE

“Most places aren’t hiring without a GED or high school diploma,” Long told KRQE News 13.

He’s now finishing his GED at the University of New Mexico’s Valencia Campus.

Like lots of teens, Long had a tough adolescence, and moved around a lot.

“When I was younger, my father was Air Force, so we’ve been everywhere,” Long explained.

His work experience includes a stint at McDonald’s.

But on Thursday, Long will attend Innovate + Educate’s first ever ‘Job-Ready-Hire-Fair’ in the Pit parking lot, TLC2.

“Youth can come in and they don’t even need a resume, and it’s all skills-based hiring,” explained Erin Muffoletto Baca, with Innovate + Educate.

Job seekers like Long will take an assessment test, and receive a ‘skills badge,’ to display their talents. They’ll go through a crash course training session, then pair up with 20 local businesses for on-the-spot job interviews.

“That gives the employee a better opportunity to succeed and the employer has a better opportunity to have the success they want from the employee,” Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry told KRQE News 13.

“Let’s have real world conversations so that you can sit in front of someone and pitch yourself,” Mayor Berry added. He said skills-based hiring is about finding the right fit.

KRQE News 13 asked Long about some of his struggles.

“I’m bisexual so, it’s really hard out there for the LGBT community, and especially with a father who doesn’t really accept you,” Long told News 13.

He said he lost his biggest support system when his step-mom died last year. Moving from house to house made it difficult for him to focus on education, Long explained.

Long’s story goes to show everyone has a story, that can’t be understood from a resume alone.

When asked what he can bring to the table, Long responded, “I like to help. I want to be able to get out there and help.”

He said his dream job would be to join the FBI. This week, he just hopes to join the workforce.

The youth job fair is all day Thursday starting at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of Wise Pise Arena. There will be free food, and discounted Isotopes tickets will be sold so you can head to the game after the interviews.

Participating businesses include:

T-Mobile, GS4 Secure Solutions, Dream Style Remodeling, Walgreens, NORC, Dions, Kemtah Technologies, Sears, UNM Staffing Recruitment Services, Brewer Oil, Sitel, We Care Agency, Walmart, Lowe’s, Genesis Health Care, Fresquez Concessions, Heritage Hotels, Starbucks, and Canon Information Technology Services, Inc.

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