Education, job growth and economic development took center stage in Mayor Richard Berry’s state of the city address for 2013 recently.  Among the initiatives that are part of his vision for the next four years, Mayor Berry highlighted the city’s partnership with UNM in the Innovate ABQ project and the United Way’s Mission Graduate goal of 60,000 new college degrees by the year 2020.

The mayor said research shows that the percent of a city’s population with post high school education is a direct driver of economic success, and called on everyone to encourage those around them to get a post secondary degree. 

“This is an audacious goal that will take a robust effort by all community members to accomplish, including businesses, educational institutions, parents, teachers, churches, social service providers and our community as a whole,” Berry said. 

Along with the push for more college grads, Mayor Berry also noted that for the first time ever, the city of Albuquerque is teaming up with UNM and other public and private entities to create opportunities to take research from the University to the marketplace.

He described Innovate ABQ, which is proposed at the old First Baptist Church site at Broadway and Central, as a “mind to market,”  “lab to fab” initiative that would bolster research-driven innovations and create jobs.

“The goal is to bring together those who research and invent with those who commercialize and those who create jobs by making those products,” Berry said.

“I am pleased to be teaming with UNM President Frank, UNM regents, our City Council, taxpayers and other stakeholders as we venture forward.”

The mayor also applauded Terry Laudick and New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union for joining the effort as a founding partner with a $3 million grant to move the project forward. 

Frank attended the luncheon speech along with Gov. Susanna Martinez, a number of state senators and representatives, city council and county commission members, business leaders and community residents.

“As the mayor noted in his speech, great cities partner with great universities to

build vibrant communities.” Frank said. “We are pleased to have a leader like Mayor Berry and a business partner like Terry Laudick working with UNM to make this vision a reality.”