Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, causing over $91 billion in damage and destroying much of the nation’s infrastructure. While conditions in Puerto Rico have improved two years post-Hurricane Maria, the unemployment rate continues to rise and current political unrest presents significant challenges for the island nation.
Meanwhile, by contrast, the telecommunications industry stateside is experiencing a tight labor market with low unemployment, provoking hiring deficits for the industry in the states.
The result is that tower technicians are moving project-to-project and company-to-company for the next higher pay.
Because of this demand, KGPCo tasked the Business Development team to step up, ask questions and take action. Led by Kim Morrison, VP of East Sales, the team identified a solution that bridged the gap between demand for more tower crews and Puerto Rico’s growing unemployed labor force post-Maria. Through local Puerto Rican partnerships with the Polytechnical University of Puerto Rico and local contractor Gatec, Inc., Morrison and team developed a certified tower training course.
This June, the first class of 20 young men completed the tower training course, with a graduation ceremony held at the University. Preparations for a second class are underway for this fall.
The training includes 140 contact hours of training on tower safety, rigging and overall installing and maintenance logistics as well as providing an Authorized Climber & Rescue designation, putting the trainees in excellent position to gain the certification needed to support the building efforts across Puerto Rico and stateside. The certification course consists of both classroom style and on-the-job training formats over the course of four weeks.
“We are proud to be a part of a program that offers Puerto Rican men and women an opportunity to develop a career in the telecom industry, especially during this time of political unrest. It’s a win-win for the rising technicians and the telecom industry,” said Morrison.
August 2, 2019