Posted at: 10/09/2013 5:22 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Richard Berry’s landslide victory as mayor of Albuquerque could have some far-reaching effects – including more diplomas for the city’s young people.
The enormous win gives Berry political leverage like no mayor before him. One way he plans to use it is to strengthen several education projects that are already under way or just starting out.
Right now only 38 percent of Albuquerque’s adult population (ages 25 to 64) have college degrees, including two-year associate’s degrees. In cities like Seattle and Raleigh it’s over 50 percent. Employers complain that Albuquerque just doesn’t have a big enough population of well-educated skilled workers.
Berry’s goal is to beef up the United Way’s Mission: Graduate drive to add 60,000 new college graduates by 2020.
“It bodes well for them,” Berry said. “It bodes well for their families. It also really does well for the community. The more people we have in our community with college degrees, or something after high school, the better off we are all going to be. There’s a lot of really good leaders in our community right now working on this issue. I count myself lucky to be one of them.”
He’s the only one with a fresh landslide win to give him the political clout to get the job done. Berry is also pledging to help the Albuquerque Public Schools “Running Start for Careers” project that steers 11th and 12th graders into skilled trades, and “Talent Albuquerque” – a campaign to help young adults identify their own skills and target the new ones they’ll need to learn to get better jobs.
Berry also back’s UNM’s “Innovate Albuquerque” plan for growing new companies and new jobs out of academic research projects. Unfortunately that plan relies heavily on a federal grant – and right now nobody knows how that will play out with the federal government shutdown.