Innovate+Educate - Nonprofit of the Month 2013

Feb 18th, 2013

Mission:Innovate + Educate

To tackle some of the nation’s most difficult challenges through collaboration, data-driven action and systemic solutions. Focus on closing the U.S.

skills gap for the future of our global competitiveness.


To promote industry-driven transformation of employment in the United States, using data to isolate real workforce needs as experienced from the employer perspective, developing original solutions to meet those needs and supporting industry in its partnerships with education and government.

Innovate+Educate inspires action as a “think and do” organization and drives systemic transformation across the entire education-to-economy pipeline by partnering with industry, government and education leaders in communities across the country.

Key goals:

Primary goal is to help close the U.S. skills gap. We believe industry must be a leader by working to identify new ways to identify and hire talent. We know traditional hiring methods are no longer working, when 52 percent of U.S.

companies can’t find the talent they need.

This is especially significant in New Mexico, where high school dropout rates are the highest in history and the majority of the students who don’t drop out have to work while in school. Skills-based hiring and credentialing can illuminate invisible talent often overlooked through
traditional hiring methods.


 Innovate+Educate began in 2009 with the purpose of finding data-driven solutions to workforce challenges that put global competitiveness at risk.

Thanks to funding from the W.K.

Kellogg Foundation, Innovate+Educate and New Mexico became part of the national New Options project, dedicated to finding new pathways to employment for high-risk young adults, ages 16 to 24, who are out of work and out of school.

Through our work with the New Options project, we have launched our Skill Ready Communities (SRC) initiative with the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, serving as a leader and the first SRC in the state. The Chamber’s project, Skill Ready Doña Ana, works to bring skills-based hiring methods to employers and “skill-up” job seekers across the county.

Because of our partnership with and the success of the Chamber, Innovate+Educate is launching an additional three Skill Ready community
initiatives across the state in 2013.

Margie Huerta of Doña Ana Community College, Bill Allen of the Greater Chamber and Jamai Blivin and Lois Johnson of Innovate+Educate hold the check for $50,000 for New Options New Mexico talks about the $50,000 grant her organization presented to the Greater Chamber to develop the New Options program in Las Cruces. New Options provides a systematic approach to testing and training job skills that benefits both potential employers and prospective employees.Key people to know:

Jamai Blivin, Founder & CEO • Jami Grindatto, Director of Talent

Solutions, Intel and Board Chair.

• Lois Johnson, Director of Workforce

Events and activities:

In November 2013, Innovate+Educate will host its first national event, Closing the Skills Gap: A Summit of Influence, Impact and Action, in Washington, D.C.

Closing the Skills Gap will bring together industry, education and workforce innovators actively engaged in creating a new talent marketplace and will share best-practices, invent new solutions and develop clear next steps to closing the U.S. skills gap.

Future plans:

To grow and expand our work outside of New Mexico so that practical solutions can be implemented by communities across the country with the goal of closing the U.S. skills gap.