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Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation Moves Forward with First Executive Director

BLWDC Moves Forward with First Executive Director.

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BCTV.org

"Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation Moves Forward with First Executive Director."

By Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation

(Reading, PA) The recently formed nonprofit Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation (BLWDC) has appointed Darleen Garcia as their first Executive Director. In her new role, Garcia will guide the organization in its efforts towards fostering economic empowerment among the Hispanic population in Berks County. Garcia, a Brooklyn, New York native and raised in the “Los Sures” community area of Williamsburg, has devoted her career to addressing socioeconomic disparities in some of the nation’s most impoverished neighborhoods within Chicago, New York City, Boston, and Southern New Jersey. Most recently, she worked in New York City where she served predominantly Black, Latinos, and immigrant adult learners seeking career development training or employment opportunities, literacy skills, and college prep programs. Garcia’s training and experience in the nonprofit, community and economic development, and higher education sectors will help the BLWDC stabilize neighborhoods in Berks by offering residents tools and opportunities to exit poverty. Simultaneously, the BLWDC hopes to assist local businesses by supplying newly skilled workers. The BLWDC focuses on helping residents create greater economic wealth and will utilize culturally appropriate platforms to fulfill its mission. They will provide resources related to gaining self-awareness, education, and career development training. As best expressed by Karen Rightmire, President of the Wyomissing Foundation, “The best social service intervention is a good job.” The Wyomissing Foundation has committed $450,000 to support the new organization, which will be distributed over three years. “Latinos are hardworking and determined individuals”, says Darleen Garcia. “Youth and adults seeking academic advancement face the harsh reality of limited funding and access to a college education. Many opt to complete training programs that will bridge them to other career objectives that they can complete over time.” Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation looks forward to further partnering with community leaders, nonprofits, and investors seeking to reduce poverty in Reading. The organization plans to establish a technology center and programs that will build English proficiency, certification programs, career readiness, literacy skills such as high school equivalency, and provide other wrap-around services. “We want residents to know that we want the very best for them”, states Garcia. “This translates into offering the support necessary to lift them out of poverty and gain a strong sense of neighborhood identity and agency.” The BLWDC has completed their strategic plan for moving forward and is currently pursuing additional funding opportunities.

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Community leaders announce the formation of Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation

The BLWDC will serve as a platform to foster cooperation and investment between the community, business, government, education, and philanthropy sectors.

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BCTV.org

Community leaders announce formation of Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation

by Community First Fund

(Reading, PA): A group of Berks County community leaders has announced a newly created non-profit organization called the Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation (BLWDC). The mission of the BLWDC is to move Latinos out of poverty by providing self-awareness, education, and workforce development training and empowering them to create greater economic wealth. The BLWDC will serve as a platform to foster cooperation and investment between the community, business, government, education, and philanthropy sectors. The purpose is to resolve the Latino workforce development gap for marginalized individuals. “This organization will facilitate community improvement, provide culturally appropriate training and increase employment opportunities for economically and socially disadvantaged members of our community,” says Board Chair Jonathan Encarnacion. The BLWDC plans to develop a bilingual technology center that will serve as the vehicle to provide training and increase employment opportunities for the Latino community's economically disadvantaged. The training center’s curriculum will include language development courses to advance English Language proficiency, adult education that allows students to achieve their high school equivalency certificate, job readiness training to facilitate entering the workforce, and practical skills training for high demand occupations. It is expected that training programs and other supportive services will be provided in collaboration with other local educational and non-profit organizations. The Wyomissing Foundation has awarded $450,000 to the new organization, distributed over three years. The funds will be used to conduct a market analysis, hire administrative staff, and secure a facility that will serve as the bilingual workforce development center's location. “We are pleased to play a part in the establishment of this effort,” says Karen Rightmire, president of The Wyomissing Foundation. “Helping our community develop skills that will allow them to increase their wages and be able to support their families is our goal. Providing additional training to workers will help companies fill open positions. Having individuals and families earning an adequate income will go a long way to creating a vibrant, healthy city and county. The best social service intervention is a good job.” Santander Bank has also granted $100,000 to support the formation of the BLWDC, providing funds to complete crucial first-year goals necessary to establish the new organization. “We understand the importance of providing educational and workforce development training to help people in Berks County build better lives for themselves, their families, and the community,” said Seth Goodall, Executive Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Santander Bank. “The support and services provided by the BLWDC will address local needs, drive prosperity, and create new growth opportunities.” The organization has launched a regional search for an Executive Director and is projected to begin providing services by the second quarter of 2020. Board members for the newly formed BLWDC include: BERKS LATINO WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jonathan Encarnacion (Board Chair), Administrative Director, UPMC Nereida Villanueva (Board Vice Chair), HR Director, Berks Community Health Center Jobany Bedoya (Board Secretary), Coordinator Latino Outreach, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance Bill Jennings (Board Treasurer), President and CEO, Reading Hospital Daniel Betancourt, President and CEO, Community First Fund Dayana Blandon, Human Resource Generalist, Reading Truck Body Lizette Epps, Director of Impact and Engagement, Visions Credit Union Angel Figueroa, CEO, I-LEAD Charter School Carlos Graupera. President, Spanish American Civic Association Dr. Susan Looney, President, Reading Area Community College Ramon Melecio, CEO, LinkTech Pamela Shupp, EVP & COO, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance John Weidenhammer, President, Weidenhammer Systems Incorporated

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RACC President Dr. Susan Looney appointed to the board of newly formed Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation

RACC President Dr. Susan Looney appointed to a board

RACC President Dr. Susan Looney appointed to board of newly formed Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation

News by RACC

Reading, PA – On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, a group of Berks County community leaders announced a newly created non-profit organization called the Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation (BLWDC). The mission of the BLWDC is to move Latinos out of poverty by providing self-awareness, education, and workforce development training, and empowering them to create greater economic wealth. Recently appointed to the board of directors is Reading Area Community College President Dr. Susan D. Looney. “It is an honor to be selected to serve on the board of an organization with a mission that so closely ties in with Reading Area Community College’s mission of building communities of learning which are committed to educational growth and the economic vitality of our region,” Dr. Looney says. The BLWDC will serve as a platform to foster cooperation and investment between the community, business, government, education, and philanthropy sectors. The purpose is to resolve the Latino workforce development gap for marginalized individuals. “This organization will facilitate community improvement, provide culturally appropriate training and increase employment opportunities for economically and socially disadvantaged members of our community,” says Board Chair Jonathan Encarnacion. The BLWDC plans to develop a bilingual technology center that will serve as the vehicle to provide training and increase employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged in the Latino community. The training center’s curriculum will include language development courses to advance English Language proficiency, adult education that allows students to achieve their high school equivalency certificate, job readiness training to facilitate entering the workforce, and practical skills training for high demand occupations. It is expected that training programs and other supportive services will be provided in collaboration with other local educational and non-profit organizations. The organization has launched a regional search for an Executive Director and is projected to begin providing services by the second quarter of 2020. Board members for the newly formed BLWDC include: Jonathan Encarnacion (Chair) Administrative Director, UPMC; Nereida Villanueva (Vice Chair) HR Director, Berks Community Health Center, Jobany Bedoya (Secretary) Coordinator Latino Outreach, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance; Bill Jennings (Treasurer) President and CEO, Reading Hospital; Daniel Betancourt, President and CEO, Community First Fund; Dayana Blandon, Human Resource Generalist, Reading Truck Body; Lizette Epps, Director of Impact and Engagement, Visions Credit Union; Angel Figueroa, CEO, I-LEAD Charter School; Carlos Graupera, President, Spanish American Civic Association, Ramon Melecio, CEO, LinkTech; Pamela Shupp, EVP & COO, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, and John Weidenhammer, President, Weidenhammer Systems Incorporated To learn more about the Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation, call 610.207.3691.