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Public-private sectors collab on pilot plan for work practice centers in Puerto Rico

Initiative by the Labor Department, the Mall of San Juan and some of its stores provide real work experiences for job applicants with disabilities.

Puerto Rico Labor Secretary Gabriel Maldonado-González and Mall of San Juan General Manager Marnie Marquina, along with representatives from various establishments, have signed a collaborative agreement with the shopping center to formalize the Infinite Talent Practice Center. This initiative aims to provide job applicants with disabilities real work experiences that help them identify their interests and perform better.

The establishments involved in the collaborative agreement include Action Service, Atypical Living, Il Nuovo Mercato, VG Optical, and Molécula.

The agreement outlines that immersive experiences will be promoted in work environments through “shadowing,” or observation. Shadowing is a training strategy where a person in professional training follows and observes an experienced employee as they perform tasks and handle work situations. 

This method allows participants to learn directly in a real work environment, acquire practical knowledge and better understand the roles, responsibilities and skills required for the position. During the process, participants can ask questions and receive detailed explanations about the work observed.

The project will assign one person to each practice center. A meeting will be held to provide the employer with information about the practitioner’s profile, their skills and share strategies on how to maximize and execute the practice successfully. The internships will last two weeks.

“I want to congratulate the Labor Department and its team for the outstanding initiative of inspiring and mentoring people with functional diversity in Puerto Rico,” Marquina said. “At The Mall of San Juan, we are deeply committed to Puerto Rico and inclusion in all its forms. We are proud of our tenants and suppliers who have decided to join this training effort, which aims to increase the employability of people with functional diversity on the island. The Mall of San Juan is proud to participate in this noble cause of inclusion and empowerment.”

The Infinite Talent initiative was launched a year ago. Maldonado-González highlighted the significant achievements of this project.

“Infinite Talent was born from the need to have a project, at the level of the entire government, that guides and directs the population with functional diversity in their goal of achieving job opportunities where they can demonstrate their maximum potential and achieve a true independent life,” Maldonado-González said.

As of last May, the initiative has registered 248 inclusive companies, 253 talents and 84 service providers. More than 400 coaching sessions, resume writing and interview practices have been offered as part of the mentoring. 

Additionally, more than 20 educational trainings were held for employers and service providers, and more than 35 professional photo shoots were conducted for the talents. The Talento Infinito Talent Show and Talento Infinito Summit were also held, attracting more than 1,000 attendees.

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