How Central New Mexico Community College Aims to Keep Fast-Growing Older Adult Population Engaged in Workforce and Economy

How Central New Mexico Community College Aims to Keep Fast-Growing Older Adult Population Engaged in Workforce and Economy

New effort to connect adults 50-70+ with employment, mentoring, entrepreneurship opportunities so they remain engaged in community – that’s critical for economy and healthcare systems as percentage of older adults is forecast to skyrocket by 2030

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., July 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Like many other states, New Mexico’s older population is expected to dramatically increase as a percentage of the state’s overall population by 2030. That’s why CNM Ingenuity, an economic development arm of Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), has acquired New Mexico-New Elder World (NM-NEW), a non-profit organization that proactively engages New Mexico residents who are age 50-to 70-plus through work, mentoring and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Keeping older New Mexicans engaged in the community and economy will be increasingly important for the New Mexico economy due to drastic shifts in the state’s age demographics. In 2010, New Mexico ranked No. 39 in the country for the percentage of residents age 65-plus. In 2030, New Mexico’s 65-plus population is expected to rank No. 4 in the country due to a variety of factors. By 2030, 28 percent of New Mexico’s population is expected to be 60-plus, making the role of NM-NEW critical for the state. In Bernalillo County, home to Albuquerque, the 60-plus age group is forecasted to be over 40 percent.

“It can be easy to see problems when it comes to a large aging population, but we see an opportunity,” says Kyle Lee, CEO of CNM Ingenuity. “There are not as many people who want to retire in the traditional sense, and by acquiring NM-NEW we hope to provide New Mexicans with new and meaningful ways to engage with the community.”

NM-NEW was founded in October 2020 by Paula Getz, a New Mexico native who had a successful career in the tech industry. When it was time to retire, she wasn’t ready to stop sharing her knowledge with young entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses.

“After spending 40 years in tech, I developed a wealth of skills that can be incredibly useful to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, municipalities and nonprofits in New Mexico,” she explains. “I was ready to retire, but I also wanted to find a way for myself, and other older adults, to share what we know, so we started NM-NEW. By creating a way to easily engage that population, they can not only give back to New Mexico but will also stay happier and healthier.”

CNM and CNM Ingenuity have already been engaging with older adults through other programs, including entrepreneurial programs. With the acquisition of NM-NEW, CNM Ingenuity will increase the momentum and engagement with older adults interested in entrepreneurship. The average age of a small business founder in the U.S. is 42. And data shows businesses started by 50-and-over founders are 1.8 times more likely to achieve high growth compared to businesses founded by an entrepreneur in their 30s.

Proactive engagement with older adults will not only have a positive impact on this population’s mental and physical health, but will also have a positive impact on the state’s economy by helping reduce New Mexico’s labor shortage and taking strain off the healthcare system.

This acquisition will also help CNM and CNM Ingenuity to hire high-quality, experienced instructors who want to share their expertise with students. The older adult population can also become students themselves as they look to reskill or upskill to pursue their next endeavor.

“Our learners need instructors who have both professional and life experience, and there is no better place to find that than in the older population,” Lee explains. “The union of NM-NEW and CNM Ingenuity is truly a win-win for those who want to continue to share what they know and for our learners who need that knowledge.”

Over the next five years, the plan is for NM-NEW to become a driving force in the community, like many other CNM Ingenuity programs have become in meeting the needs of the workforce. A community college managing a program like this for older adults will also be of interest as a potential model for other regions and states facing similar challenges.

SOURCE Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)

(PRNewsfoto/Central New Mexico Community College)

Originally published at
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