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.