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Habitat for Humanity offers construction training through Habitat Builds Puerto Rico

Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico announced the launch of “Habitat Builds Puerto Rico,” a five-and-a-half-week construction skills training “bootcamp” designed to prepare men and women to work in the growing construction industry in Puerto Rico.

Applications are currently being accepted. Courses are offered free-of-charge to those who qualify based on their income and their interest in the construction industry.

The first course is scheduled to begin May 24 at Sacred Heart University, the academic partner. A total of five sessions will be offered during 2021, Habitat officials said.

Habitat Builds Puerto Rico combines theoretical and practical teaching approaches. It teaches what works in the local industry. The course trains participants in fundamental subjects such as math for construction, measurements and drawings, occupational safety and health, masonry, plumbing, carpentry, and electrics. 

In addition, it promotes gender equality in construction through workshops that teach strategies to empower the role of women in the industry. The curriculum has been reviewed by construction industry leaders from Puerto Rico and the US mainland, the nonprofit said.

Habitat for Humanity’s investment in Puerto Rico’s workforce will allow more families to recover from the impact of hurricanes Irma and María. Habitat Builds Puerto Rico prepares more people for recovery jobs while adding competent labor to the local construction sector. 

“Developing accessible and effective trainings such as Habitat Builds Puerto Rico, allows us to contribute to the improvement of current local labor needs, gain momentum in the recovery and support the economic growth of people and the Island,” said Amanda Silva, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico.

Habitat Builds Puerto Rico is part of Habitat for Humanity’s five-year Recovery Plan which is primarily funded by a $50 million donation from AbbVie in 2018. The program advances Puerto Rico’s recovery and resilience following hurricanes Irma and María through various initiatives including home repairs, construction workforce training and security of tenure, among others.

A portion of AbbVie’s funding has also allowed for the rehabilitation of Habitat Builds Puerto Rico Construction Laboratory at Sacred Heart University in Santurce.

“Habitat Builds Puerto Rico is an important part of the vision and hope that we have for the people of Puerto Rico following the devastation caused by the hurricanes. As a large employer for more than 50 year here on the island, we have a deep commitment to ensuring the sustainable and resilient reconstruction of Puerto Rico,” said Alejandro Drevon, general manager of AbbVie Puerto Rico.

“We’re proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity in this first-of-its-kind program in Puerto Rico to help prepare more people with the skills they need to get jobs, thrive, and contribute to the Island’s economy,” he said.

Upon completion of the training, participants receive: 16 Continuing Education Units (CEUs); an Occupational Safety and Health 10-Hour Card; a Habitat Builds Puerto Rico 160-hour Participation Certificate; and the opportunity to participate in job interview processes. 

Participants will also be supported in finding a job as they will become part of the training’s database which employers can access to find competent talent. 

“Through this collaborative effort with Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico we reaffirm our mission to join forces with other organizations to train people who are able contribute to the construction of a more united Puerto Rico,” said Sacred Heart University President Gilberto J. Marxuach-Torrós.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Builders’ Association President Alfredo Martínez-Álvarez, Jr., said Puerto Rico’s construction industry is currently undergoing a period of accelerated growth that is expected to continue for the next few years and will increase demand even more for an already-scarce workforce with the capabilities and knowledge to work in the industry.

“For [more than] five years, the Puerto Rico Builders’ Association and Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico have worked in the development of timely projects aimed at advancing Puerto Rico’s recovery. We must now take on the urgent need to educate and train candidates to work in the construction industry,” said Martínez-Alvarez, who also expressed the Association’s commitment to participating in the process of recruiting those people who complete Habitat Builds Puerto Rico trainings to the local construction workforce.

To be eligible to apply, applicants must be at least 18 years old, present evidence of income, be motivated to enter the construction industry, and have a commitment to their careers. 

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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