Workforce Development Initiative

January 30, 2019 – HBA of PR Community Development Corp., a not for profit organization of the Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA), unveiled a workforce development and readiness program for the construction industry. It was unveiled by our Chairman, Emilio Colón-Zavala, PE, at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Action Network Post-Disaster Recovery summit held in San Juan on January 30. Also, it was announced by the Puerto Rico Secretary of Education, Julia Keleher, on January 31.

The initiative represents a partnership between the public and the private sector to increase human resource capacity in the construction sector for the projects that will be needed in the coming years. It is estimated that approximately 22,000 students graduate from public schools every year. This initiative would have a potential to produce around 2,100 students in the first semester of the program.

Our goal is to implement an industry recognized certification process in order to accomplish goals and have qualified personnel in our projects. We have secured two certification processes that are nationally recognized; Home Builders Institute (HBI) and National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). We are pursuing courses to be certified by Puerto Rico’s building official in compliance with EO-2018-033. This represents a private industry solution in order to be able to have enough human resources to perform the reconstruction work that will be needed in the coming years. Also, the proposed course will produce better employment opportunities for our students by giving them access to a nationally recognized construction workforce certification. Finally, part of the program will include a process to ensure graduates access to employment opportunities at the end of their training. We will be training and certifying 84 teachers from the public schools’ system after translating and adapting the curriculum to our requirements. Then, we will train students who opt into the program. The approximately 2100 we expect to graduate in May from the program will receive; high school diploma, core course certification from HBI or NCCER, OSHA 10-hr course, and a certificate in compliance with Executive Order 2018-033 that would qualify the student for the higher minimum wage on publicly financed projects. There will be a carpentry certification course during the month of June for those who want to be trained as such. Next semester, we expect to deploy additional trades into the program. This proposal is an alliance with the Puerto Rico Department of Education (DE) for a construction workforce development program. We have secured a partnership between our organization, Caribbean Project Management and the Associated General Contractors of America Puerto Rico Chapter.

Image: José González Espinosa, from Marriott; Emilio Colón-Zavala PE, PRBA’s President; David Bogaty from Worldnet, William Jefferson Clinton, Julia Keleher, Puerto Rico Secretary of Education, and Christine Scanlan, from Keystone.
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