The Spanish American Civic Association and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology are creating a workforce development program they hope will help Lancaster County residents who have lost jobs due to COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners approved the use of $300,000 of federal CARES Act money to jumpstart the program.
“We’re here because we are compelled, because unemployment among Latinos is 18% in Lancaster city because of COVID (and) unemployment among African-Americans in 20%,” Carlos Graupera, CEO of SACA, said at a commissioners work session meeting Tuesday. “These communities have a concentration in the hospitality and service industries, which is not expected to make a quick recovery.”
“I think because of the nature of COVID-19 and that this is likely to be with us for a while, and there is going to be … measurable jobless and to try to get folks retrained and back into the economy is good for everyone,” county Commissioner Craig Lehman said.
The SACA-Thaddeus Stevens program is designed to help those whose job was lost or reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing them training at the Tec Centro facilities in Lancaster city.
The funds approved by the county will be used purchase equipment for the plumbing technology, electrical construction and maintenance, and HVAC maintenance/refrigeration programs, as well as to establish a language and adult basic education lab. Graupera said the partners believe up to 144 students will be served by the program in 2021, climbing to 216 in subsequent years.
Graupera said that depending on the type of training, within four to six months individuals would be able to make family-sustaining wages.
Training is scheduled to begin by March 31, 2021.
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