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State Department of Labor marks Hispanic Heritage Month with workforce development collaboration

by jmaloni

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Thu, Oct 17th 2013 03:15 pm

Department of Labor meets with representatives from Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic

State Department of Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera has announced a new initiative partnering with representatives from seven Latin-American countries to help lower the unemployment rate and boost workforce development initiatives among Latino communities in New York state.

There are nearly 3.6 million Latinos living in New York - 2.4 million in New York City alone. The unemployment rate among Latinos is 11.8 percent, compared to the state average of 7.6 percent. With this in mind, the Department of Labor has partnered with the consulates from Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. The partnership will look to streamline education and certification programs, as well as provide better access to services that will connect workers to jobs available now and better prepare them for tomorrow's opportunities. This will ultimately address some of the basic labor and employment needs among Latinos in New York.

"It was very clear in our initial meeting that this type of relationship between the state and other countries is greatly needed," Rivera said. "So much is already being done, but much of it is happening in individual communities. Our efforts will bring these communities together and help streamline and improve the programs and services to fully prepare the workforce of today and tomorrow."

The initial roundtable, held on Sept. 9, focused on current offerings for constituents, collaborations with businesses and schools, and identifying challenges. Efforts will first focus on New York City and then expand statewide.

Jorge Lopez Amaya, consul general of Ecuador and coordinator of the Coalition of Latin-American Consulates in New York, said, "We welcome the Department of Labor's initiative in looking for better ways meet the needs of our communities, including our immigrants, and look forward to working with representatives from so many countries with diverse perspectives."

Sandra Fuentes, consul general of Mexico in New York, said, "Mexico is proud of its partnership with the New York State Department of Labor. Immigrant workers contribute greatly to the day-to-day economic prosperity of the state of New York, and this project represents an important opportunity to provide them with the tools and training needed in order to advance their integration into the labor force of the state of New York."

Felix Antonio Martinez, consul general of the Dominican Republic, said, "This initiative could greatly benefit our community. Through this certification, our immigrants will be able to obtain better jobs and receive the necessary tools to better perform the duties in their fields."

For more information, call 1-877-466-9757 or email [email protected].

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