About New Options
New Mexico

Meaningful Work, Economic Security & Connecting Employers with Untapped Talent

In New Mexico, 40% of students are dropping out of high school and 90% of New Mexicans have to work while pursuing higher education. Employers can’t find workers with the skills needed to do the job and are hiring outside the state despite high unemployment. There is a serious and urgent skills gap problem in New Mexico.

At New Options New Mexico we believe there is a significant pool of untapped talent overlooked by traditional hiring practices and our goal is to provide a roadmap for employers to start hiring based on skills and not just on degree. By adopting the WorkKeys Skills Assessment as the standard “language” of skills across the state, we believe it is possible for employers to identify skilled workers for open positions and for potential employees to understand what skills are required for a given position.

We are also working to align community colleges, the State Workforce Department and the public education system toward this common goal of workforce preparedness and skills so employers can find the talent they need within our state and New Mexicans can find jobs & build careers.

Won’t you join us?

To learn more about Kellogg’s New Options project, go to http://newoptionsproject.org

New Options New Mexico Team Bios

Jamai Blivin/CEO
Jamai Blivin is CEO of Innovate+Educate/New Options NM and oversees the New Options NM project. Blivin works with the project manager to assure delivery of all project scope to New Options Project, works directly with industry across New Mexico to advance the work, and is the lead partner for the national New Options Project in representing the New Mexico work.  For Blivin’s full bio go to:  http://www.innovate-educate.org/about/bio/jamai_blivin/

Joylynn Armijo/Project & Data Administrator
Joylynn Armijo is a consultant and is the Data and Project Administrator for Innovate+Educate and New Options New Mexico. Born and raised in New Mexico, she understands the needs and issues that local families deal with on a regular basis. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Family Studies, in the hopes of making a difference in people’s lives. Joylynn enjoys working for non-profit agencies, and believes one person really can make a difference. She is passionate about helping New Mexico's youth to strive in education, and to help advance the well being of families in New Mexico.

Luis Hernandez/Employer Recruiter
Luis Hernandez recently joined Innovate+Educate, to work on The New Options Summer Jobs Program. Having over 16 years of experience in sales, marketing, and executive recruiting, he brings a strong passion for helping the local NM business community grow and prosper. Along with his high energy, outgoing personality & positive attitude, Luis is committed to “Changing The Language of Search and Hire” through the New Options NM Program & Summer Jobs Program!

Seth Holsapple/Social Media Intern
Seth Holsapple is an intern for Innovate+Educate, working out of Public Service University in Albuquerque. He is a sophomore at the University of New Mexico majoring in Psychology. He is currently assisting Innovate+Educate on researching and developing a Facebook page to connect young adults to New Options and Innovate+Educate.

Lois Johnson/Workforce Director
Lois Johnson is a results-driven workforce consultant with over 20 years executive level experience in program and policy development in non-profit and government sectors. Currently, she is the Lead Workforce Strategist for the New Options project, aimed at building a skills-based hiring economy in New Mexico. Over the past several years, Lois has led statewide reorganization of the New Mexico public workforce system, including consolidation of 41 workforce centers, development of a new demand-driven service model, and system-wide staff re-training. Originally from Albany, NY, Lois was the founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Employment and Resource Center, widely noted for successful industry training programs and strategic partnerships with local business and industry.

Tom S. Kilijanek, Ph.D./WorkKeys® Profiler
Dr. Thomas S. Kilijanek, Workforce and Education Consultant, is focused on linking research results to pragmatic decision-making for individuals and organizations in the education and workforce arenas. Tom brings over 30+ years of knowledge and expertise in WorkKeys, assessments, job analysis, data analysis, and employer engagement for the New Mexico New Options project. Tom is also the Executive Vice President of Bring You’re A Game to Work, focusing on the training, assessment, and certification of work ethic and soft skills demanded by employers in today’s economy. Dr. Kilijanek received his doctorate degree in Sociology from the University of Denver in 1980, specializing in complex organizational analysis, research design, and education policy development. Other significant accomplishments include Board Member, Mountain Career Academy; Founder, Board Member, Coyote Creek Concerts; Member, Skills Partnership Committee, Colorado Workforce Development Council; ACT President’s Merit Award; Chair of the Board, Denver Partners, Inc.; Consultant, Prodigal House, first runaway house in Denver; Adjunct Therapist, Ft. Logan Mental Health Facility; Group Leader, Volunteers For International Development, Dominican Republic; and full scholarship, University of Denver.

Steve Krebs, MBA, MA/New Options Senior Employer Recruiter
Steve Krebs, MBA, MA, is the Senior Employer Recruiter for New Options New Mexico. He has previously served as Executive Director for Economic Development in Kansas and Director/Vice President Franchise Development – central region, AmericInn International, Vice President Marketing, Supertel Hospitality, and National Field Marketing Director, Wyndham Hotel Group. Krebs' other work includes four years as Commander of the Wounded Warrior Unit at Ft. Sill, OK, and currently serves as a volunteer project lead on the workforce development committee for Albuquerque Interfaith. Krebs has served more than 30 years in the Army Reserves and currently serves as a Battalion Commander at Ft. Bliss, TX. He has both an MBA and a MA from Webster University, is a graduate of Command and General Staff College and has completed Army Engineer Officer and Human Resources officer training. Krebs holds a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification.

Charles Lehman/WorkKeys Profiler
Charles Lehman provides WorkKeys testing, profiling, labor market information and general project support to the Innovate Educate project for the Kellogg Foundation. He is Director of the Employment and Education Center of New Mexico and has worked as a labor economist in New Mexico for forty years in the public and private sectors. His current work projects are in economic, career, and workforce development areas. He has degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of New Mexico.

Merrilea J. Mayo, Ph.D./Lead Strategist
Dr. Merrilea J. Mayo, founder of the Mayo Enterprises, LLC consultancy, is currently assisting Innovate+Educate (I+E) and ROI Ventures (ROI) on workforce and education-related strategies for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Other projects have included writing an Intel-funded science policy report for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), providing advice on game-based learning to the Susan Crown Exchange, and assisting the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES) with an overarching strategy for education at NASA, under request of the Office of Administrator. Dr. Mayo was previously Director of Future of Learning Initiatives at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. From 2001-2006, Dr. Mayo was Director of the Government-University-Industry Roundtable (GUIRR) of the National Academies. GUIRR focused on tri-sector issues such as the science and engineering workforce, intellectual property rights, the impacts of globalization on national competitiveness, STEM education, deemed exports regulations, and national-laboratory university collaborations. Dr. Mayo’s other work included two years at Sandia National Laboratories, 11 years on the faculty of Pennsylvania State University, and a founding role in both ASTRA (an advocacy organization for the physical sciences) and the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (an organization devoted to improving the ability of companies and universities to conduct joint research). Dr. Mayo is a materials scientist and engineer by training, having received her doctorate degree in that field from Stanford University in 1988, publishing approximately 80 technical articles, and serving as the Materials Research Society’s President in 2003.

Susan Murphy, Ph.D./New Options Higher Education Consultant
Dr. Susan Murphy has worked in higher education in New Mexico at both the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College for the past 30 years. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts in Boston and completed her Master’s and Doctoral work at the University of New Mexico in Comparative Romance Languages specializing in Linguistics. At the University of New Mexico she worked in the Provost’s Office coordinating operations at the three branch campuses in Gallup, Los Alamos and Valencia County. At Central New Mexico Community College she has served as Dean of Arts and Sciences, Vice-President for Academic Affairs and most recently as Vice-President for External Affairs and Executive Director of Workforce Training Center leading the college’s response to workforce training needs. In supporting community workforce training, she currently serves on the Central New Mexico Workforce Board. She has consulted widely on issues of accreditation and student performance and assessment. She has been associated with the North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1984, serving on over 35 accreditation visiting teams, specialized review teams and advisory groups. She provides facilitation in the use of quality tools and systems approaches for project planning in college environments and serves as an online mentor for the HLC Assessment Academy.

Brian Ormand, Ph.D./New Options Co-PI
Dr. Brian Ormand is CEO of Ormand Consulting, LLC. Currently Dr. Ormand is Director of Instructional Innovation & Quality at New Mexico State University and Co-PI on the New Options New Mexico project. A primary research focus for Dr. Ormand has been the diffusion of innovation related to eLearning and instructional technologies. His research has included a quantitative study of faculty adoption of instructional technologies, and student utilization of technologies. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Systems Analysis, an MBA, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership. Dr. Ormand has ongoing involvement with non-profit service programs for at-risk populations in New Mexico, Mexico, and Central America. As the Director of the New Mexico Learning Network, Dr. Ormand played a lead role in creating statewide virtual college and K-12 online services targeted at rural and underserved communities. He has served as the chair of the Council on Technology in Education eLearning subcommittee, chair of the IDEAL-NM Advisory Council, board member on the NM Coalition of Charter Schools, chair of the NMSTE Policy Committee, and member of iNACOL, Educause. Dr. Ormand led in creating many of the technology support services at NMSU including the Institute for Technology Assisted Learning (ITAL), the Online Course Improvement Program (OCIP), Student and Faculty technology advisory committees (STAC/FACT), a National Centre for Learning Management System Training, the Association of Computer and Network Support (ACANS), and other related services.

Al Reed/New Options Education Director
Al Reed is a native Santa Fean and worked at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) for 22 years before joining the Innovate+Educate team. At SFCC, he served as the Dean of Business and Applied Technologies for many years and was instrumental in bringing instructional technologies, distance learning and workforce programs to the college. Mr. Reed received his undergraduate degree at UNM, his masters at St. John’s College and has completed all but his dissertation in instructional technology and distance education. At Innovate-Educate, he is focused on creating bridges between traditional education, workforce development and employers.

Amy Schilling/Marketing & Communications Director
Amy Schilling has nearly a decade of experience working as the Communications Director for start-up companies ranging from biotech to consumer products. For the past four years Amy worked in the film industry, specializing in digital media production, producing & directing commercials, documentaries and corporate videos. Amy has a Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Dayton and a Master’s in Animal Behavior from UC Davis. Her graduate research focused on primate behavior and conservation.

Dolores Vargas/Administrative Manager
Dolores Vargas has twenty years experience supporting diverse organizations, including medical offices and schools. She was most recently the Administrative Assistant for Garcia Street Club, one of Santa Fe’s oldest schools. Dolores is a New Mexico native and graduate of Capital High School. She is passionate about education and has an 11-year-old daughter, Abigail.

New Options New Mexico is powered by the New Options Project, a $28M multi-year investment of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to create new pathways to employment for young adults.     Learn more