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Pierluisi meets with top US Dept. of Labor official to talk strategies

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi met Monday with US Department of Labor Undersecretary Julie Su to bring her up to speed on the administration’s strategies to improve the island’s work environment, offer training and retraining opportunities, promote workplace safety, and improve labor statistics.

“We’ve made significant progress in expanding employee benefits in both the public and private sectors, raising the minimum wage on the island as well as increasing pay for tens of thousands of public employees in a process that continues in all government agencies,” said Pierluisi following the meeting that took place at La Fortaleza.

Puerto Rico currently has the lowest unemployment rate in its history and the highest levels of employability and participation in the past 15 years.

Among the efforts carried out by the central government to retain, improve and expand the labor force, both in the public and private sectors, is the exchange of information on employment and volunteer programs for people who receive nutritional assistance, in addition to job fairs and employability programs, he said.

“Added to this are the agreements with the Department of Education to provide better access to job opportunities, a pilot plan in federally funded reconstruction projects in which we will have labor agreements, and the work we’re doing with the Department of State and Homeland Security to increase H2-A visas in support of the agricultural industry,” Pierluisi said.

Meanwhile, Su said her visit calls for sharing the federal government’s “commitment to advancing workforce and economic development in Puerto Rico.”

“President Biden talks to us all the time about how we have to take a whole government approach to rebuilding the economy following the crises of the last few years and that includes…not just the federal government, but partnerships with states,” she said.

“We had a very robust discussion about how we can align systems, how we can strengthen partnerships and how we will leverage resources to connect workers to good jobs in critical, in-demand sectors,” Su said.

“During the remainder of my time here on the island I look forward to continue to hear from workers, from workforce training providers and other key stakeholders to learn how we at the Department of Labor can help support delivering on the president’s vision of creating good jobs where workers feel safe secure and empowered every day,” she said.

Su’s visit follows Undersecretary of the US Department of Commerce, Don Graves, who was on the island last week.

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

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