By Antonio Sanchez, Rio Rancho Observer Staff Writer
PUBLISHED: Saturday, November 21, 2015
Surpassing the 1,000 new jobs marker in Sandoval County since its formation last year, Sandoval Economic Alliance wraps up 2015 looking forward to introducing a program that will help educate small businesses, the organization’s president said.
A recap of the past few months and plans for 2016 were discussed during its quarterly luncheon Tuesday at Club Rio Rancho.
Representatives of marketing company Marble Street Studio and Richard Draper of the Sandoval Health Collaborative also spoke, the former about its experience creating promotional videos in Albuquerque and the latter providing information about the collaborative’s goals, which include growing the county’s health workforce, recruiting and retaining health and social services jobs and businesses, and improving health outcomes.
Jami Grindatto, CEO and president of SEA, said Sandoval County has added 1,075 new jobs since the alliance’s formation. Of that, Grindatto said, 452 jobs were due to heavy involvement by the alliance, 323 were due to necessary support from the alliance and 300 jobs were gained without the work of the alliance.
Since its last quarterly meeting in August, the alliance has held 16 site visits for interested businesses and is negotiating with three companies to locate in Sandoval County.
“They are now actively negotiating a lease or they’re thinking about expanding their operations. That’s pretty exciting to me because it shows the tip of the pipeline,” Grindatto said. “We’re at the point now where they’ve decided to locate or grow in their own community and having three of those is great.”
The alliance’s retention and expansion committee is developing a “Grow Your Local Business” program, expected to launch in the first quarter of next year. Grindatto said the program will listen to a business’s goals and provide an educational class targeted for that business.
Classes will taught by business experts and vary in lesson topics, from commercial real estate and branding to learning how to recruit a workforce. The new program will be available for all businesses in the county area.
An economic reports program will also be provided to interested businesses by the end of the 2016 first quarter, he said. The program would provide “economic snap shots” gathered by the alliance and be available for download.
“We have a lot of data,” Grindatto said. “We do a lot of that research anyway, so we thought we’d make it available for a reasonable cost for businesses and institutions.”