This post is part of an ongoing series, Meet Skillpoint, where you will hear from the people behind our work to build human capital in Central Texas. 

ChrisNieto_HeadshotSkillpoint is pleased to announce another recent appointee to its Board of Directors – Chris Nieto. He is currently president of Qobe Group, a company he formed to advance human capital within organizations, companies, and communities.

Aside from Qobe, Chris is active in his community by serving on numerous community Advisory Councils, including the ACC Hays Campus Advisory Board and Destination Imagination Capital Region. He also a National Board Member for the Arthritis Foundation and the Board Chair for the Arthritis Foundation South Central Regional, the Chair of the JA Task Team for the Arthritis Foundation, and continues to volunteer with the National Hispanic Institute (NHI). Outside of work, you can find Chris with his wife and two daughters running around Town Lake or playing soccer at Zilker Park.

We are so excited to have Chris’s exceptional leadership and experience on our Board of Directors. We recently asked Chris about his interests and plans for Skillpoint. Read about it below:

What piqued your interest about Skillpoint and led you to joining the board?

My family has an extensive history of community involvement and leadership development. We understand that in order to create more prosperous communities, we need to invest in its most valuable asset – human capital. This requires a heavy investment in education, youth development, comprehensive learning, and technical skill training that ultimately create pathways to success.

Unfortunately, there are still many under-served communities in Central Texas that lack the resources and training needed to be competitive in a growing STEM industry in Austin. In reviewing organizations that were actively developing solutions to address this gap, I found Skillpoint Alliance, which not only addresses the immediate need for adult workforce development, but has a long-term solution through youth programs that provide the exposure and development for future education and jobs in the STEM field.

I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. Skillpoint Alliance is part of the solution and that is why I joined the board.

In 2015, Austin was ranked the #2 fastest growing city in the U.S. We’re also ranked the #1 economically segregated city in the nation. For you personally, what are the most important issues we – as a community – need to focus on to close the gap in our city?

This was alarming to read, but I understand it. Growing up in Austin, I witnessed firsthand the social and educational impact economic segregation was having in our underserved schools and communities. There were limited opportunities educationally for youth and many lacked the early exposure to possible opportunities for their future.

To close this gap today, we need to focus on education, create a fluency of STEM in our youth, provide early exposure to leadership, create pathways into colleges and growing 21st century career fields, and increase diversity in STEM fields.

How do you hope to make a positive impact in our city through your work on Skillpoint’s board?

I want Austin to be in a better place than when I started on Skillpoint’s board. This means applying my leadership and talents to create inroads into schools and communities, especially our under-served, to provide high quality education and training for youth and adults to have early exposure and fluency in STEM related fields. This way we can preserve the quality of living for ALL Austinites and eliminate Austin from the list of most “economically segregated” cities in the United States.

If you’d like to connect with Chris, you can find him on Twitter or LinkedIn.