Puerto Rico Economic Development Dept. launches Apprenticeship Accelerator
SAN JUAN – Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy announced Wednesday the signing of an agreement with the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources, establishing the “Labor Development Program” of the Economic Development & Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish initials), to receive $129,725 from the U.S. Labor Department to produce registered apprenticeships with participants having been trained for high-demand, well-paid sectors.
“This initiative will provide the tools and opportunities for today’s apprentices to be the professionals of tomorrow, with well-paid job opportunities in sectors such as construction, tourism, aerospace, agriculture and advanced manufacturing, among others. The funds available will be used to the maximum, in order to optimize the knowledge and employment opportunities of the Puerto Rican workforce, fulfilling the commitment of Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares to provide the best resources for our workforce,” the secretary said in a statement.
Laboy explained that his department was awarded funds allocated from the National Apprenticeship Act (29 U.S.C. § 50) for the Apprenticeship USA State Accelerator Grant Program. Through the agreement, DDEC will implement a work plan approved by the U.S.
Labor Department to develop and implement a Labor Training initiative aligned with the economic development strategy established by the government of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico Labor Secretary Carlos Saavedra Gutiérrez said the agreement maximizes the resources to carry out the initiative, which is part of the government’s fiscal plan.
“The Training Program not only expands the tools job-creators can use, but also allows the new generation of workers to put into practice what they have learned in academia and develop specific skills within their professional field. In addition, they can obtain certifications or licenses for regulated…professions. The apprenticeship guarantees more knowledge and increases the chances of a secure job,” Saavedra said.
Meanwhile, the executive director of the Labor Development Program, Natasha Vazqueztell Cordero, who administers the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act in Puerto Rico, said the “funds will allow the DDEC to design and implement a job training initiative that connects employers in high-demand industries and sectors with candidates.”
On Thursday, an Apprenticeship Accelerator event will be held to present how educational programs are the workforce development strategy for companies as well as job seekers. The development of customized learning programs that meet the needs of the workforce in all industries will be discussed.