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Habitat gets Puerto Rico Builders Assoc. award for Construction Lab project

The Puerto Rico Builders Association awarded the “Social Impact Award” to the Construction Laboratory where Habitat Builds Puerto Rico construction trainings are offered, during its annual convention held recently at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

The Association presents this award annually to projects and organizations that achieve a positive social and community impact through strategic alliances and projects in the categories of residential, commercial, tourism and social, the nonprofit explained.

Habitat Builds Puerto Rico was created in early 2021 by Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico to train participants with the basic necessary skills to enter the local construction workforce and contribute to the recovery of Puerto Rico following hurricanes Irma and María.

The training is offered for free, to those who qualify, at Habitat Builds Puerto Rico Construction Laboratory, a 2,200-square-foot rehabilitated space at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón that was formerly a nursery.

The laboratory is prepared to offer practical classes to at least 30 participants on topics such as: math for construction, measurements and drawings, occupational health and safety, plumbing, masonry, carpentry, and electricity. It is located across the University’s main library and has parking for participants and instructors.

“Through its Habitat Builds Puerto Rico courses, Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico does an extraordinary job training men and women in basic construction skills, which helps supply part of the employment demand in our industry,” said Alfredo Martínez-Álvarez, Jr., president of the Puerto Rico Builders Association.

“It is undoubtedly a very important initiative, at a time when we urgently need competent labor. Our Association is honored to be part of this collaborative alliance and we wish them much success in all their endeavors,” he said.

“All of us at Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico are very proud to receive this recognition from the Puerto Rico Builders Association,” said Amanda Silva, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico.

“We have invested all our efforts into the development of this training, guided by the urgent need for competent labor to work in the local construction industry, with the purpose of contributing to the reconstruction of Puerto Rico and the economic recovery of people and the island,” she said.

Habitat Builds Puerto Rico is designed to train participants in basic construction skills in 5 1/2 weeks. To date, 91 participants have completed the course with an average GPA of 90%, and 100% have obtained their OSHA card.

Some of the graduates are already working with private contractors as assistants to licensed specialists, while others have used their skills in their communities organizing volunteer brigades to rehabilitate residential spaces, and some are continuing their studies in Project Management and related courses.

“Being able to help people who want to contribute to the reconstruction of Puerto Rico has been a great privilege for Sagrado. This collaboration with Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico, through the trainings we offer on campus, reaffirms our mission. Sagrado educates and contributes to the development of a more supportive Puerto Rico,” said Beba Alvarado Torrech, manager of Sagrado Global.

Upon completion of the training, participants receive 16 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), a 10-hour OSHA official card, a stipend, and a participation certificate. The program also offers job interview opportunities, thus connecting participants with contractors and recovery jobs throughout the Island.

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

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