Governor Pedro Pierluisi, Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Trade (DDEC) Manuel Sidre and Secretary of the Department of Education Eliezer Ramos announced the signing of a cooperation agreement to introduce a Pre-Apprenticeship program (Pre-Apprenticeship) in vocational schools as part of initiatives that contribute to the development of work on the Island.

This initiative will benefit more than 27,000 vocational students to transform them into successful professionals in emerging industries.

“Promoting a well-rounded education that adequately prepares our students for success in the workplace is a fundamental part of our present and future. I have been consistent that we must expand our vocational training offerings in the Puerto Rican education system. It is a fact that as part of my program commitments, the Department of Education is increasing the number of schools that have such offerings, and that some of the new schools we are developing will be vocational schools,” the governor said.

The chief executive reiterated that unemployment is now at “the lowest level in the history of our island, so employers need to have a trained and prepared workforce to be able to face the new challenges of the global market”.

“With this project, we aim to teach our young people to take part in this call from the labor sector. The Department of Education’s Vocational and Technical Program is in a phase of transformation and growth in order to continue to adjust the curricula and respond to the needs of our students so that they are better prepared, so we will continue to focus on providing the tools necessary for better use,” added P’ erlouise

Pre-apprenticeships are a range of strategies designed to prepare and ensure that people enter and successfully complete a Registered Apprenticeship programme. These programs include approved curricula with hands-on training in real work settings. This program is administered by DDEC’s Labor Connection in conjunction with 15 local labor development districts.

To this end, two cooperation agreements were announced to promote this initiative. The first was between DDEC and the Department of Education, in which paid work experience projects will be created throughout Puerto Rico for students majoring in business administration, family and consumer sciences, health sciences, agricultural education, industrial education and gastronomy, among others.

A second cooperative agreement was entered into between DDEC, the Department of Education, and the Association of Puerto Rico Restaurants (ASORE).

In this case, ASORE will act as a facilitator in the planning and implementation phase of the pre-internship program and bring together the member restaurants of the association to provide these young people with the opportunity to undergo professional internships in interested restaurants or businesses. After the signing of this agreement, the students of 29 vocational and technical educational institutions that have the programs “Culinary Art”, “Bakery and Confectionery”, “Service and Care of Guests” will benefit.

For his part, the DDEC Secretary encouraged all businesses and industries interested in participating in this great effort to contact the DDEC Labor Connection, which is responsible for the implementation of vocational training or pre-apprenticeship programs.

“Through Labor Connection and the Registered Apprenticeship Program, we believe that all young people and employers in need can benefit. Our goal is to offer these young people all the tools they need to succeed in the job market, and we want them to get the most out of it so they can make a positive difference in their lives and in our society,” said Sidre Miranda.

On the other hand, the Secretary of the Department of Education (DE) welcomed the possibility that students would have to work with an employer for a period of time to put into practice the theory they learn, in addition to giving them hands-on opportunities to learn about a particular industry or profession.

“We welcome two collaboration agreements that will strengthen our vocational courses, giving our students the opportunity to develop the skills, experience and knowledge that will make them qualified for their respective careers. This is the time to create this experience for them during their studies as it will allow them to gain more skills and mastery in their field. We are committed to supporting the development of more vocational courses and schools in all our education regions. We have already started by expanding the more than 40 new professional courses we have added to the offer, and we will continue to work to strengthen the program.”

“This memorandum is a response to the great employment need in the industry and also highlights the importance of properly training future professionals and highlights the opportunities this opens up for them. With the support of the Department of Economic Development and Education, we will work together for a real socio-economic transformation on the Island based on sustainable and long-term development,” said Mateo Cidre, President of ASORE.

Finally, the mayor of Canovanas, Lorna Soto Villanueva, emphasized that “the Vocational School of Canovanas is our pride, and thanks to the efforts of the teachers and the support of parents, it has educated many young entrepreneurs. In addition, I am glad to be a part of this initiative, because through this experience, young people will have the opportunity to practice in scenarios similar to real work environments, which will be of great benefit to them in strengthening the foundation to build their future. I thank Governor Pierlouise, the Department of Education, DDEC and ASORE for choosing this campus and making us a part of this important announcement for our VET students. I am confident that this agreement will be useful in continuing to provide the tools to successfully guide them in their professional development.”