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LaunchMeABQ Now Helping Teens Gain Job Skills

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UPDATE: This initiative is currently on hiatus.  

Teens in the greater Albuquerque area will now have the opportunity to showcase their talent, learn about careers and build their skills while using their mobile devices.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and Angelo Gonzales, Mission: Graduate’s Executive Director, announced the release of LaunchMeABQ app at a news conference today.

“The more opportunities we provide our young people to learn about careers and connect to jobs, the better chance that they will have to be more successful,” Mayor Richard J. Berry said. “Launch Me ABQ is a great tool that is designed to provide youth with hands-on learning activities surrounding workforce aptitudes at an age when they are starting to think more intensely about their future careers.”

Through the Launch Me ABQ platform, teens can earn two types of digital badges: Experience and Quest Badges. Experience Badges guide students to the realization that skills they already possess are transferable to the workplace.

Quest Badges direct students through three-tiered activity levels in four “soft skills” competency areas: Professionalism, Initiative, Communications, and Financial Wellness. By completing the activities within each Quest Badge, young people gain skills and knowledge specific to each category.

“The app encourages students to participate in online and ‘in-real-life’ activities to help build the skills needed in our local workforce,” says Angelo Gonzales, Mission: Graduate’s Executive Director. “This initiative advances two of our strategic objectives: engaging youth during the summer to help stem summer learning loss and increasing opportunities for young people to explore careers and develop the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce.”

Nusenda Credit Union provided the content for the financial literacy badge that contains six topics focusing on goal setting, budgeting, earning, saving, insurance, and avoiding financial mistakes. The program was awarded the DollarWise Summer Youth Campaign’s $5,000 grant from the US Conference of Mayors and it will be featured nationally.

At any time, students can share their profile with potential employers as a complement to their resume.

The platform, which can be accessed at LaunchMeABQ.com, was created by Mission: Graduate and the City of Albuquerque’s Innovation Team (I-Team) and developed by Cause Labs. The app was made possible by support from the City of Albuquerque, United Way of Central New Mexico, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Nusenda Credit Union.

Launch Me ABQ is part of Mission: Graduate's summer learning initiative and of Got Skills ABQ, a City of Albuquerque strategy that includes several initiatives for addressing unemployment and underemployment in youth ages 16-24 in Albuquerque.

Thanks to Selena Hardy of Mission: Graduate for her leadership in the project; Frank Mirabal, Jacob Sanchez, Hakim Bellamy, Annemarie Henton, Mariela Ruiz-Angel, Sofia Sanchez & Erin Muffoletto Baca from the mayor’s team; Shana Runck and Robin Brule from Nusenda; T.J. Cook, Brian Vanaski, Rebecca Colgate, and Rick Sharp from Cause Labs; and the members of the Mission: Graduate Summer Learning Council who provided important early input into the development of this initiative.

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