At their May 2013 membership dinner, Santa Fe based SHRM chapter NNMHRA experienced a first. The speaker had finished her presentation, it was the end of the meeting, and attendees weren’t leaving. They were gathered around the presenter, Jamai Blivin, CEO of innovate+Educate, clamoring to talk to her.
That evening, Jamai was invited to share with the group Innovate+Educate’s research on skills-based hiring. Jamai challenged assumptions that degrees are necessary and exclusively predictive of job success. “Yes, degrees reflect the completion of learning content,” says Jamai. “Cognitive skill scores reflect the ability to think critically and to perform successfully on the job.” Attendees learned how skills-based hiring is more predictive of on the job success than college degrees, that it increases retention, that it reduces hiring costs and time to hire, and that in New Mexico, it is free!
Above the crowd, Jamai called out to then chapter Past President, Karen Mickool, and President, Linda Strauss. “I think I need to get this in front of more employers. Do you want to help?” she yelled. “We’re in!” they yelled back. Karen Mickool (then SHRM NM State Council Northern District Director) and Linda Strauss (future SHRM NM State Council Director of Workforce Readiness) brought Innovate+Educate’s work to the attention of the SHRM NM State Council. What followed was a decision by SHRM NM to adopt Innovate+Educate as a community partner. “We are committed to spreading Innovate+Educate’s vision and mission throughout our state,” says SHRM NM State Council Director, Ilene Colina. “The goals of our two organizations complement each other – connecting with HR professionals and employers in New Mexico. Since, 2013, we’ve made good progress toward our goal of closing the national skills gap – one chapter at a time, and one state at a time.”
Innovate+Educate (I+E) is a "think & do" leader, implementing research-based strategies that lead to the national adoption of a competency-based hiring and training system that leads to economic success for all. While I+E’s focus is national, luckily for New Mexico, their home base is here in NM. Along with Jamai, I+E was founded with the help of Dr. Brian Ormand. Brian also helped implement the first of what I+E calls “Talent Cities”.
Talent Cities are a new kind of marketplace where employers and job seekers exchange information about jobs and qualifications using the common language of skills. The goal of a Talent City is to illuminate invisible talent while supporting employers in finding qualified candidates by forming community partnerships. I+E designs and implements Talent Cities, with the help of community partners such as the local Department of Workforce Solutions, Chamber of Commerce, Department of Economic Development, city leaders, schools, libraries, employers and SHRM chapters, etc., to provide individuals with multiple pathways to learning and employment that result in economic success.