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Centros Sor Isolina Ferré expands academic offering with $3.9M grant

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The Centros Sor Isolina Ferré (CSFI, in Spanish) announced it has signed an agreement with the Housing Department to expand its academic offerings with the help of a $3.9 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program allocation, the nonprofit announced.

The grant is available for a five-year period and the new academic offer builds on the nonprofit’s vocational and job training courses for young people and adults at its Ponce Playa center.

The grant will be invested in two job training programs: a welding technician program and a photography program with drone management, nonprofit officials said.

“The job training program will help unemployed people find jobs adapted to skill areas related to recovery efforts,” said Puerto Rico Housing Secretary William Rodríguez.

Meanwhile, María de Lourdes López, director of the CSIF’s Educational System, some 250 participants are expected to benefit through both programs with the skills required to get a job in industries related to construction, with an emphasis on women from the southern area of ​​the island.

“Being part of the group of organizations that will contribute to the development of the workforce through CDBG-DR funds will allow us to continue supporting the transformation of the most vulnerable individuals and communities,” said Luis E. Ortiz-Ortiz, CEO of the CSFI.

Program participants will get training based on global best practices in the field of welding and will be licensed by the American Welding Society (AWS), the nonprofit explained.

Each participant will receive a one-year membership to AWS, which will give them access to multiple in-person and remote opportunities for specialized professional development.

Ortiz-Ortiz also said participants will have specialized support services such as counseling, placements, social work, and library, vital for future professional leadership.

Meanwhile, job training in photography will help participants to develop skills related to commercial digital photography using unmanned aerial vehicles known as drones (UAS) as a photographic medium.

These are resources that are seeing growth as an application in land measurement, monitoring and inspections of construction sites (including inspections and certifications) and public safety.  The devices are vital in responding to natural disasters such as search and rescue, as well as in applications to journalism, agriculture, real estate, transportation, energy, insurance, advertising and among others.

The CSIF seeks to ultimately invest the grant funding to create competencies and skills among the people of the island’s southern region, so they become agents of change and contributors to the socio-economic recovery of their communities, said Ortiz-Ortiz, adding that “communities reinvent themselves and transcend for a common good.”

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