The Center for the Future of New Mexico’s Economy is an areawide effort to coalesce data and use that information to standardize economic goals and growth policies across the state.
“Doesn’t it make a lot of sense to set consistent economic goals?,” asked Danielle Casey in an interview, president and CEO of Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance (AREA, formerly known as AED, Albuquerque Economic Development). “If we grow the pie, everybody benefits.”
UNM Anderson School initiated the program with the backing of the UNM Anderson Foundation. “Our objective is critical and nonpartisan policy analysis based on identifiable metrics,” said Dean Mitzi M. Montoya of Anderson School at UNM’s Main Campus. “We are a trusted, nonpartisan source and we tackle issues within a forum.”
“Dean Montoya reached out to me more than a year ago. I said, ‘Yes, please!'” Casey said. “We are thrilled to be a data and analysis partner. [This alliance] exemplifies best practices and successful models we’ve seen in other states.”
Basing economic policy and actions on objective data is a goal that Montoya hopes will bring all stakeholders together. “We already have valuable data on the film industry, technology and innovation and renewable energy to help us identify expansion industry opportunities,” she said. There will be data sharing to businesses and most data will be available to the public as well.
Montoya thanked the Anderson Foundation Board for allowing the Center to move forward; helping to grow businesses within the New Mexico economy is key to UNM Anderson’s mission. One of AREA’s mandates within their strategic plan is to “creat[e] a more cohesive, effective and efficient economic development ecosystem.” The Center may also have a hand in distributing federal and state money if needed at a later stage, according to their initial media release.
The Center conducts symposia throughout the state and has already checked in with Santa Fe Economic Development, the City of Albuquerque and the City of Las Cruces. They also host a companion Regional Innovation Series. A March 17 symposium in this series will be held in Albuquerque entitled “Enhancing Competitiveness Through Collaboration,” time and place TBD. For more information, visit abq.org/events.