CNM Ingenuity Acquires NM-NEW to Expand Opportunities for Older Adults to Connect with Jobs, Mentoring, and Entrepreneurship

NM-NEW connects adults 50-70+ with valuable opportunities so they remain engaged in the community – that’s critical for our economy and healthcare system as the percentage of older New Mexicans is forecast to skyrocket by 2030.
July 24, 2023

With New Mexico’s older population expected to dramatically increase as a percentage of the state’s overall population by 2030, CNM Ingenuity 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, as well as social and learning activities.

Keeping New Mexicans who range in age from 50 to 70-plus 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 our state.

“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, an economic development arm of Central New Mexico Community College. “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 technology industry. But 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. I’m thankful to the people who helped evolve this idea into NM-NEW and the incredibly generous donors including AARP New Mexico, French Funerals & Cremations, the Chip Conley Foundation, Bank of America, and Nusenda, all of which understand that older adults are an asset in the community. 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.”

Over the last three years, NM-NEW has hosted 15 online learning events for older adults covering topics like financial literacy and mid-life transitions. CNM and CNM Ingenuity have already been engaging with older adults through programs like Silver Entrepreneurship Initiative and ActivateNM. With the acquisition of  NM-NEW, Ingenuity will increase the momentum and engagement with older adults interested in entrepreneurship. Over 50 percent of New Mexico businesses are owned by older adults, and those businesses are 1.8 times more likely to be successful compared to businesses owned by a young entrepreneur.

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.

Getz will stay on as an advisor to CNM Ingenuity to continue to provide guidance and insight. 

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