US EDA assigns $6.7M to Puerto Rico for job training
The US Economic Development Administration announced it has assigned $6.7 million to Latino civil rights and advocacy organization UnidosUS to work with Puerto Rico-based One Stop Career Center to offer job training for the construction and aerospace industries.
The goal is to “connect 660 jobseekers to the growing construction industry as well as the rapidly emerging mechanical aviation sector,” UnidosUS explained in its proposal to the EDA for the project it calls the “UnidosUS Good Jobs Challenge.”
The program would provide training specifically for future pipefitters, steamfitters, electricians, and as aircraft mechanics.
“Over the past six years, Puerto Rico has struggled to recover from a series of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakesas well as the COVID19 pandemic which has hit the territory particularly hard,” stated UnidosUS, formerly known as National Council of La Raza.
UnidosUS explained that it partnered with One Stop Career Center of Puerto Rico “because they have deep expertise in meeting the needs of workers and employers; their workforce systems are well-positioned to support the proposed project, and there is strong buy-in from a diversity of partners for the project.”
As part of the proposal, One Stop Career Center signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with seven Local Workforce Development Areas in Bayamón-Comerío (two municipalities); Caguas-Guayama (eight municipalities), Carolina, Nortecentral (eight municipalities), San Juan, Surcentral (give municipalities) and Sureste (seven municipalities).
Aside from those partnerships, the One Stop Career Center also has relationships with the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish), multiple employers — Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico, LLC, Custom Homes, and MFS Construction — and the University of Puerto Rico.
Lufthansa has committed to hiring at least 60 workers, while Custom Homes and MFS have committed to hiring between 30 and 40 jobseekers from the proposed projects.
In Puerto Rico, the One Stop Career Center worked directly with construction companies to develop the industry-specific career pathway program. CC worked
The aviation component is being developed in direct response to the workforce needs of Lufthansa, which is building a new hub in Aguadilla.
“One Stop Career Center will continue to assess employers’ needs and develop employer commitments in the two target industries. It will work with the Local Workforce Development Areas, education providers, and employers to formalize the program implementation and will develop an Employer Advisory Council,” UnidosUS explained in its proposal to the EDA.