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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

UPR-Río Piedras launches ambitious job training program

University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Campus Chancellor Luis Ferrao Delgado

By The Star Staff

The Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies (DECEP) of the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Campus (UPR-RP) launched its Job Training Program, which would impact 45,000 unemployed or underemployed people over a five-year period, UPR-RP Chancellor Luis Ferrao Delgado said Wednesday.

All certifications will be offered free of charge to participants. The certifications include the areas of project management, medical record management, customer service, graphic design, entrepreneurship and innovation, management and supervision, administration of federal funds, cultural management, marketing plan and social networks, proposal development, event coordination, maintenance of green areas, tourism and hospitality, fundamentals in construction, and reading and interpretation of plans, among others.

“This is a comprehensive effort of the academy and the government sector is a magnificent response to the current challenges we have in the sectors of employment and economic development in the country,” Ferrao said in a written statement. “Through this program we contribute to this development by once again making the excellent resources of the state university available to the citizens of our island. At the same time, we offer participants new educational and professional experiences that will allow them to broaden their knowledge, that will serve them to achieve their work goals as well as personal ones.”

The program will also foster economic development and create jobs by investing funds from the Puerto Rico Department of Housing’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program in resources that facilitate skills development through education, technical assistance and mentoring.

The program will impact the unemployed, school dropouts ages 16 and older, and anyone interested in retraining in a high-demand field who currently earns less than $28,000 a year.

“The UPR has the responsibility to contribute to the economic development of the country,” UPR Interim President Mayra Olavarría Cruz said. “Projects and alliances like the ones we are announcing today have a positive impact by providing training tools to a sector of the population that needs opportunities like this to progress and overcome poverty. In a reciprocal way, the UPR benefits by raising funds that are necessary for its sustainability in times when it has been besieged by those who do not recognize its value as an educational, cultural, social and economic development center of the country.”

The initiative will be carried out in partnership with the Puerto Rico Department of Education, the Spartans Placement Agency, Subway and the municipalities of San Juan, Guaynabo, Toa Baja, Loíza, Vieques and Culebra, among others.

Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Cidre Miranda emphasized “the importance of aligning and implementing concrete plans to develop and train local talent.”

“It is essential to train our workforce, both for immediate demand and for the different work scenarios that we face in the future,” he said. “This University of Puerto Rico program opens the door to countless opportunities to foster the skills and abilities necessary for a competitive and cutting-edge working class.”

Meanwhile, Labor and Human Resources Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González highlighted the value of the initiative in light of the changes facing the labor market at the local and global levels.

“The pandemic and technology have generated changes in the labor market in an accelerated way, so the Job Training Program, aimed at impacting 45,000 unemployed or underemployed people in a period of five years, is extraordinary news for Puerto Ricans, merchants and entrepreneurs, as well as for the economic development of Puerto Rico, since it deals with skills and needs that the times present in order to be employed,” he said. “We urge all people who are unemployed or underemployed to get oriented and enroll, free of charge, in the programs and certifications that can contribute to their maximum development.”

The innovative project will also promote the ability of small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop, expand and grow, as well as the development of programs that promote sustainable and viable community improvements to attract new investments, the officials said.

“This is a project with a major socioeconomic impact for citizens, the UPR and Puerto Rico,” DECEP-RP Director Josué Hernández Álvarez said. “The objectives of the project are aligned with the high-priority skills required by the current labor market and the opportunities available in high-growth economic sectors on the island. In this way, it is expected that the participants can re-enter the field of employment or develop new skills that help them to succeed. Therefore, we envision that this initiative will have a direct impact on the economic development of Puerto Rico.”

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