Workforce Development Program

Workforce Development Program

What is the Workforce Development Program?

The Workforce Development Program (PDL in Spanish), attached to the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) administers and oversees the federal funds for training and employment of Title I of Public Law No. 113-128 of July 22, 2014, known as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) that are assigned to the Government of Puerto Rico.     

WIOA provides a wide variety of workforce development activities to help job applicants, displaced workers, and youth in and out of school access new employment opportunities, education, training and support services to be successful in the job market. In addition, it matches employers with qualified job candidates, who they need to compete in the global economy.     

The purpose of these activities is to promote increased employment opportunities, job retention, and occupational skills of the participants. To sustain and increase the labor force, reduce dependence on public assistance, and develop Puerto Rico's productivity by generating jobs.     

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

State Board of Workforce Development

The Act requires the Governor to establish a State Workforce Development Board in order to advise him / her on building a workforce development system aligned with state education policies and economic development goals. It is responsible for assisting the Governor with the functions assigned by WIOA in: the development and implementation of the Unified State Plan; development and expansion of alliances in sectors and occupations in demand; policy development and alignment; development and continuous improvement of the Unique Management system; development of policies and guidelines on the functions of the members of the Single Management System and the contribution of resources for their sustenance.

Composition: The State Board shall incorporate the various regions of the state, which includes rural, urban, and suburban areas, and shall be composed of representatives from different sectors.

The Governor has appointed the State Workforce Development Board consisting primarily of representatives from businesses, labor organizations, educational institutions, and community organizations. The State Board assists the Governor in designing a statewide plan and setting appropriate standards for programs.

Directory of Representatives of the Work Development Program in the State Board

Secretary of the State Board 787-754-5504 ext. 5630

Calls and Minutes

The State Workforce Development Board has at least four meetings a year. All meetings are open to the public or workforce development professionals. In order to attend, please request authorization at least two days in advance to the following email

Circular Letters issued by Executive Directors of the Workforce Development Program

Circular LettersNumber
Circular Letter to establish Public Policy and requirements for the initial and subsequent designation of Local areas under WIOAWIOA Circular Letter 01-2015
Circular Letter of Memorandum of Understanding MOUWIOA Circular Letter 01-2017
Circular Letter Guide for the Competitive Selection of Operators of the Unique Management Center - American Job CenterWIOA Circular Letter 02-2017
Circular Letter on public policy and Requirements for Publicity, Transparency, Openness and Disclosure of Local Board MattersWIOA Circular Letter 03-2017
Prohibition of the total closure of the Unique Management Centers (CGU) during the administrative closures decreed by the municipalitiesWIOA Circular Letter 03-2021

Minutes of State Board Meetings

Public Policies, Procedures and Regulations

The State Board and the Workforce Development Program have developed public policies (including procedures and guidelines) to ensure their formation with the WIOA Act, the Governor's economic development priorities, and the goals of the Board. State, among others, to be able to comply with the strategies under the services permissible for participants under the programs of the Workforce Opportunities and Innovation Act served by the PDL and the 15 Local Labor Development Boards (JLDL).

Public PolicyNumber
Procedure for the Determination of Violations and the imposition of WIOA sanctionsApproved on June 28, 2017, ratified on April 26, 2019
Operational Procedure to implement the Business Capitalization WaiverJuly 10, 2019
COVID-19 Unemployment Prevention FundDDEC-WIOA-RR-01-20
Technical Assistance Guide for the elements of the Youth ProgramDDEC-WIOA-02-20
Selection of Eligible Youth Service ProvidersWIOA-03-20
Internal Procedure of the State Board
TAA TrainingDDEC-WIOA-05-20
TAA Definition of Displacement AreaDDEC-WIOA-06-20
Procedure for the follow-up service required by WIOA for participants of the Adult, Displaced Workers, and Youth ProgramsDDEC-WIOA-07-20
Request for Public FundsDDEC-WIOA-09-20
Payroll Cost Allocation PolicyDDEC-WIOA-10-20
Financial Reports - Settlement or Closing ReportsDDEC-WIOA-11-20
Resolution No. 01-2020 Temporary JobsResolution No. 01-2021
Public Policy DDEC WIOA-RR-02-20DDEC WIOA-RR-02-20
Public Policy WIOA-04-20 Guide Process certification, recertification, decertification local boardDDEC-WIOA-04-20
Case Management and Record-Keeping PolicyDDEC-WIOA-08-20 

Procedure for Subsequent Designation and Redesignation of Local Areas

Requirement for transparency and disclosure (Sunshine Provision) of Local Board activities under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)DDEC- WIOA- 01- 2021

Unified State Plan 2020-2023

Under the provisions of Section 102 (b) (1) (B) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Governor of each state or territory must submit a Unified or Combined State Plan to the US Department of Labor, annual strategy for the State's workforce development system. WIOA's state plans provide valuable information on the various investments, programs, and initiatives underway to serve our job seekers, students, and businesses across the island.


State Board Committees

Junta Estatal WIOA Composición de Comités de Trabajo

1Strategic Planning and BudgetingSra. Lymaris Otero CruzOlga I. Ramos Carrasquillo, Elizabeth Alonso
2Liaison with the Private Sector
Lymaris Otero Cruz, Nelson Ramírez Rivera, Carl Leyva Ramos, Luz Disla Peña
3Evaluation, Monitoring, and AuditDra. Mildred HuertasIrba M. Batista Cruz, Carl Leyva Ramos
4Proposal ReviewIng. Michael Pabón RiveraVanessa de Mari Monserrate, John Vigueras Ortiz, Coral Cummings-Pino, Olga I. Ramos Carrasquillo, Nelson J. Ramírez Rivera, Carl Leyva Ramos, Mildred Huertas-Solá
5Trends and Innovation
Luz Disla Peña, Nelson J. Ramírez Rivera
6BusinessmenSra. Irba M. BatistaSonia E. Navarro González, Luis Disla Peña
7ExecutiveEmilio Colón Zavala, Nelson J. Ramírez Rivera, Coral Cummings-Pino
8YouthLcda. Olga I. RamosJaime Martínez, Sonia E. Navarro González

Local Areas of Labor Development

Local Areas are created under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and designated by the Governor. They offer services to youth, adults and displaced workers. Services offered:

  • Information on the labor market       
  • Job opportunities       
  • Assistance in the writing of cover letters and summaries       
  • Photocopies and procedures for employment services       
  • Internet use       
  • Evaluations       
  • Training opportunities.
Mapa de Juntas Locales Junta de Aguadilla Junta de Arecibo Junta de Barceloneta Junta de Guaynabo Junta de Bayamon Junta de Orocovis Junta de Ponce Junta de Mayaguez Junta de San German Junta de Coamo Junta de Humacao Junta de Fajardo Junta de Carolina Junta de San Juan Junta de Caguas-Guayama Junta de Caguas-Guayama Junta de Caguas-Guayama

Benefits of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

The services provided by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) at the local level offer a variety of benefits to program participants and communities:      

  1. Counseling, advice and assistance in planning your career
  2. Access to information on the labor market, job search and job placement assistance
  3. Opportunity to increase your job skills through education and training.
  4. Potential for higher wages / salaries and greater self-sufficiency as a result of education and training.

  1. Assistance in obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  2. Leadership development opportunities, including paid or unpaid employment experience.
  3. Potential for higher wages / salaries and greater self-sufficiency as a result of education and training.

  1. Workers trained to meet job needs.
  2. Training and job training for your current full-time employees.
  3. Avoid layoffs and rapid response services for employment and training for displaced workers.

  1. Services tailored to the specific needs of the workforce.
  2. Improve the quality of the workforce and increase the number of people placed in jobs.
  3. Reduction in the need for public assistance and applications for Unemployment Insurance benefits.

Available services

Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) authorizes services for adults, displaced workers, and youth.

The adults eligible for services must be 18 years or older.     

The displaced workers are individuals who have been fired from your last job and are unlikely to return to their previous industry or occupation. Additionally, self-employed persons, the spouse of a member of the armed forces who is on active duty, and displaced homemakers may also qualify for these services.     

Employment services for adults and displaced workers, such as training, education and other services are provided through the Unique Management Centers of the Local Areas.     

The Unique Management Centers use a variety of strategies to provide appropriate services and meet the needs of their clients:

Basic Career Services

Determination of eligibility to participate in different programs, information on the labor market, an initial assessment of skill levels, and assistance in job search and placement.     

Individualized Career Services

May include specialized and detailed evaluations, diagnostic tests, objective interviews and evaluations, individual or group counseling, career planning, and workforce readiness activities.     

Training Services

May include vocational training, job training, and on-the-job training. Individual training accounts are established to finance the cost of training from a list of providers approved by the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC).     

Training Provider List

Official public list prepared by the Workforce Development Program according to the recommendations of the Local Boards, and which contains the programs of training service providers certified as eligible to offer training subsidized with funds from the WIOA Act. This list includes information on the execution levels and costs of each program.

List of Suppliers

Youth program

The Youth Program under the WIOA, assists the eligible youth in and out of school , with one or more barriers, to achieve academic and employment success. To participate in the program, young people must be between the ages of 14 to 24 years. WIOA offers a wide range of high-quality services, including career exploration and guidance, ongoing support for academic and vocational educational achievements, work experience, practice, internships, and training in in-demand industries and occupations. The goal of the program is for young people to enter post-secondary education, a registered apprenticeship or a job, along a career pathway .      

TUTORING, STUDY SKILL TRAINING, INSTRUCTION, AND DROPOUT PREVENTION (20 CFR 681.400, 681.460 (a) (1)) are activities that lead to a recognized high school diploma or equivalent (including a recognized certificate of attendance or similar document for people with disabilities) or for a recognized postsecondary credential.        ​

ALTERNATE HIGH SCHOOL SERVICES AND DROPOUT RECOVERY (20 CFR 681.400, 681.460 (a) (2)) assist youth who have struggled in traditional secondary education or who have dropped out of school;       

Services under this element of the program are intended to assist youth who:       

  1. have dropped out of high school, or,
  2. youth in school who are currently struggling to stay in the traditional high school and would benefit from an alternate high school program.

Services are aimed at re-engaging young people to continue education leading to completion of high school diploma or its recognized equivalent.       

PAID OR UNPAID WORK EXPERIENCE (20 CFR 681.600) is a planned and structured learning experience in a workplace for a limited period of time. Services are focused on providing eligible youth with opportunities for career exploration and skill development. A work experience must include academic and occupational education components.       

The paid or unpaid work experience of a participant must be linked to the goals identified in their individual service strategy.       

Work experience may include the following types of work experiences:       

  1. Summer job opportunities and other employment opportunities available throughout the school year;
  2. Pre-learning programs;
  3. Boarding schools;
  4. Observation of jobs ( job shadowing ); Y
  5. Opportunities for on-the-job training (OJT).

OCCUPATIONAL SKILLS TRAINING (20 CFR 681.540) is an organized study program that provides specific vocational skills that lead to proficiency in performing actual technical tasks and functions required by certain occupational fields at the entry, intermediate, or advanced levels.       

Training in occupational skills must meet the following criteria:       

  1. It is results-oriented and focuses on an occupational goal specified in the youth's individual service strategy;
  2. is of sufficient duration to impart the skills necessary to achieve the professional objective; Y
  3. leads to the achievement of a recognized post-secondary credential.

EDUCATION OFFERED IN CONCURRENT WITH WORKFORCE PREPARATION ACTIVITIES (20 CFR 681.630) reflects an integrated model of education and training; and describes how workforce preparation activities, basic academic skills, and practical training in occupational skills should be taught within the same time frame and connected to training in a specific occupation, occupational group, or career path.        

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES (20 CFR 681.520, 681.530) including community service and peer-centered activities that foster responsibility, confidence, employability, self-determination, and other positive social behaviors;       

The State Workforce Development Board established that services under the Leadership Development Opportunities element are required for all Youth In School and Youth Out of School ( See DDEC-WIOA-02-20: Technical Assistance Guide of the Youth Program Elements )       

SUPPORT SERVICES (20 CFR 681.570) allow a person to participate in the activities of WIOA, Sec. 3 (59) and include items such as child or dependent care assistance, transportation assistance, tools necessary for work, among others .       

Note: usually support services have been identified as support services. However, the appropriate term is support services as it better captures the concept of what this element intends. See document DDEC-WIOA-02-20:  Technical Assistance Guide for the Elements of the Youth Program.       

ADULT MENTORING (20 CFR 681.490) is a formal relationship between a young participant and an adult mentor that includes structured activities in which the mentor offers guidance, support and motivation in order to develop the participant's competencies and character. It must be offered for a period of at least 12 months, which can occur during and after participation in the program;        ​

FOLLOW-UP SERVICES (20 CFR 681.580) are provided after exit from the program and help ensure youth are successful in employment or education for at least 12 months after their participation ends. The WIOA law establishes in section 129 (c) (2) (1) and in 20 CFR 681.580 (c) that all participating youth must have the opportunity to receive follow-up services that are aligned to the ISS.       

Follow-up services may include regular contact with a participating youth's employer, including assistance in handling work-related problems that may arise, as well as support services necessary to keep the youth in education or employment activity placed after departure.       

COUNSELING AND COMPREHENSIVE GUIDANCE (20 CFR 681.510) provides individualized counseling to participants. This programmatic element also includes alcohol and controlled substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, as well as referrals to other specialized services, as appropriate to the needs of each youth;        ​

FINANCIAL LITERACY EDUCATION (20 CFR 681.500) refers to activities that provide youth with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve long-term financial stability;       

Financial literacy education encompasses information and activities on a number of topics, such as creating budgets; setting up checking and savings accounts; managing expenses, credit and debt; understand credit reports and credit scores; and protection against identity theft.       

The State Board of Workforce Development established that services under the Financial Literacy Education element are required for all Youth In School and Youth Out of School . See, DDEC-WIOA-02-20 - Technical Assistance Guide for the Elements of the Youth Program .       

BUSINESS SKILLS TRAINING (20 CFR 681.560) provides the basics for starting and operating a small business and develops entrepreneurial skills;       

Entrepreneurship skills training helps youth develop the skills associated with entrepreneurship such as the ability to take initiative, creatively seek and identify business opportunities, develop budgets and forecast resource needs, understand options for acquiring capital and the trade-offs associated with each option, and effective communication and marketing of yourself, your products or services.       

SERVICES THAT OFFER INFORMATION ON THE LABOR MARKET (20 681.460 (a) (13)) offer information related to employment and the labor market, industrial sectors or occupations available in the local area, and includes advice and professional exploration services .       

Labor market information also identifies employment opportunities and provides insight into labor market expectations, including education and skill requirements and potential earnings; Y       

The State Board of Workforce Development established that services under the element of Services Offering Information on the Labor Market are required for all Youth in School and Youth Out of School .  See DDEC-WIOA-02-20 - Technical Assistance Guide for the Elements of the Youth Program.        

POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION PREPARATION AND TRANSITION ACTIVITIES (20 CFR 681.460 (a) (14)) help youth prepare for and transition to post-secondary education and training.       

These services include helping youth explore postsecondary education options, including technical prep schools, community colleges, colleges and universities with two (2) through four (4) year programs, and Registered Apprenticeship programs.       

The State Board of Workforce Development established that the services under the element of Preparatory Activities and Transition to Post-Secondary Education are required for all Youth in School . See, DDEC-WIOA-02-20 - Technical Assistance Guide for the Elements of the Youth Program .        

Youth Provider Registry

Section 123 (a) of Public Law 113-128 establishes that the suppliers selected by the Local Boards go through a competitive process. The Services must comply with the requirements established in the Law, be accessible and reasonable and comply with the goals established by each Local Board for youth in and out of school.


Workforce Development Program

State Unit for Displaced Workers and Employers (UETDP)

Created by the DDEC, as a measure of action to respond quickly and effectively to unemployment events, closures of operations and natural disasters. To ensure compliance with Rapid Response activities directed at displaced workers. a proactive unit, focused on companies and their workers, with a flexible design that allows it to fulfill the main purposes, such as:

  • Assist in the stoppage of layoffs, as far as possible, connecting affected workers with other employers who need their skills and knowledge. Likewise, avoiding future closures by using training services for incumbent workers and assisting employers to identify alternatives to this scenario.
  • Provide assistance and coordination of services for affected companies and their workers, with the goal of minimizing the impact of job loss

State Unity Mission for Displaced Workers and Employers (UETDP)

The mission of the UETDP is to positively and effectively impact the two sectors that are affected in the event of a closure or massive unemployment, which are the workers and the employer.

Rapid Response Activities

The Rapid Response activities are intended to join the efforts of all core and optional partners under WIOA, to plan, organize, develop and facilitate services that help the worker to avoid or minimize the impact of unemployment and that the process of transition is carried out as smoothly as possible.

Rapid Response Services

State services available to workers affected by closure or layoffs to re-enter the workforce:

  • Guidance on the services available according to the Law of Opportunities and Innovation of the Workforce
  • Drafting of Resumes
  • Informative talks
    • Financial Planning
    • Job Interview Techniques
    • Change management
    • PDifficult Questions in the Job Interview
  • Psychological Support
  • Information and referrals to employment opportunities
  • Recruitment Fairs
  • Government agency fairs
    • Local Areas (15) or Title I WIOA - racing and training services       
    • Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA), if the company is affected by the Free Trade Agreement       
    • Department of Labor and Human Resources o Claim for Unemployment Insurance and Application for Employment Service       
    • Veterans Program       
    • Department of Health: Medical Assistance Program       
    • Department of the Family: Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN), ASUME       
    • Department of Education - Complete High School
  • Job search assistance      
  • Guidance on business development      

State services available to employers proactively and tailored according to need:      

  • Severance Prevention Activities       
  • Assistance to prequalify candidates       
  • Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Workshops       
  • Rapid Response Services, to manage the transition of workers affected by closure or layoffs       
  • Development of training activities to update the skills of incumbent workers       
  • Recruitment Fairs
  • Development of on-the-job training activities, tailor-made training and “Apprenticeship”        

Our services are:      

  • Confidential        
  • Custom made
  • Free of cost

Under the Labor Code, in Chapter 4, Sections 1400-1408, WARN protects workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers to provide 60-day advance notice of layoffs to affected workers and employees. local representatives of the city and the state, for the closure of a company or for a massive layoff. Advance notice of layoff provides affected workers and their families time to prepare for job loss, time to seek other employment, and, if necessary, time to receive job training or retraining in order to successfully compete in the labor market.

AnchorHow do I file a WARN Act notice?

When the employer notifies its employees that they will be affected by the closure of a company or by a massive layoff, the employer must use a reasonable specific method to notify its employees, which ensures that they will receive notice of the layoff within 60 days. of anticipation. For example, by post, personal delivery with the option of a signed receipt, etc.

The State Unit for Displaced Workers and Employers (UETDP) or the Local Labor Development Area will assist you so that you can communicate with the main elected official (Mayor) of the Municipality affected by the layoff or the closure of a company. For more information, visit the Directory of Local Labor Development Areas .

To file a WARN Notice, email At this address, provide the following information:

  • Name and address of the place of employment where the company closure or massive layoff will occur.     
  • Name and telephone number of the company's contact person, in case more information is required.     
  • Statement on whether the action planned for the termination of the layoff will be permanent or temporary; and if the company will be closed completely.     
  • The indicated date of the first layoff and the planned dates of subsequent layoffs.     
  • Titles of the job positions that will be affected by the layoff and the number of workers that will be laid off for each job classification.     
  • When layoffs occur in different places of employment, provide the number of workers laid off and the title of job positions for each workplace.     
  • Name of the labor union / union representing the workers affected by the dismissal.     
  • Name and postal address of the director chosen by each union / union.     

For more information on the WARN notice, go to

All WARN notices must be submitted in writing:

  • To the representative of the affected employees and / or to each employee, if they are not represented.     
  • To the Mayor of the place where the closure or layoffs arises.     
  • To the State Unit for Displaced Workers and Employers of the DDEC:

Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC)

Att. State Unit for Displaced Workers and Employers

Work Development Program

Avenida FD Roosevelt # 355 Hato Rey, PR 00918

PO Box 1921594/16/2021 San Juan, PR 00919-2159 Tel: 787-754-5504 ext. 5286 Email:

  • To the Department of Labor and Human Resources Att. Department of Labor and Human Resources Prudencio Rivera Martínez Building Avenida Muñoz Rivera # 505 San Juan, PR 00918     

Report of WARN Notifications Submitted to the State Unit for Dislocated Workers and Employers



The Trade Act of 1974 established the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA) to assist workers who have lost their jobs as a result of international trade. It provides the affected worker with the opportunity to train in TAA, receive financial benefits and support to reintegrate into the workforce.      

Benefits and services for posted workers:      

  • Reemployment Services       
  • Career Coaching       
  • Case Management       
  • Long-Term Training Payment       
  • Financial assistance for eligible workers who are taking training and exhausting their Unemployment Insurance benefits.       
  • Relocation Stipend       
  • Job Search Stipend       
  • Salary Subsidy for Readjustment on Re-employment for workers aged 50 and over.       
  • Subsidy for Transportation and Subsistence Expenses       

Benefits and services to employers      

On the Job Training (OJT)      

It consists of a training provided by an employer to a TAA certified worker whom they have hired; It provides you with the essential knowledge and skills for you to achieve proper and upstanding job performance while you are employed. The employer receives a reimbursement of up to 50% of the certified worker's salary and up to a maximum of 104 weeks     

Customized Training      

Designed to meet the needs of an employer or group of employers, with the commitment to retain the worker in employment. This training is carried out by a separate instructor, the employer agrees to employ the workers, once they successfully complete the training. The employer receives a reimbursement of up to 50% for certified classroom training and up to a maximum of 130 weeks.     

Applying to qualify for TAA benefits and assistance is the first step. The application form can be completed on the website; through a representative of the State Unit for Dislocated Workers and Employers or contact the US Department of Labor (DOL) in Washington at 1-888-365-6822.     

The application can be requested by different sectors:     

  • Three or more workers from the same company or its subdivision.       
  • The employer of the laid off workers.       
  • Union leader or some duly authorized representative.       
  • Representatives of the Labor Force System.       

The application identifies a group of Workers of the same company or subdivision, and includes all the members of that group. The certification request must be submitted to the US Department of Labor (DOL) during the layoff year for workers to be eligible under the Program.     

Special Projects     

The PDL has funds available from WIOA, for the development of innovative, creative and productive projects, aimed at training workers eligible under the WIOA, as well as companies or industries in need of recruiting employees or updating the skills of their existing workers .     

In order to obtain the funds through reimbursement, it is necessary for employers to request and meet the criteria and requirements necessary for qualification, approval and hiring.     

Training activities     

The following guide provides employers with the process of qualification and requests for funds in an agile, simple and fast way. The manual describes the instructions to complete said qualification and application, together with the documents required to file and evaluate them.     

On-the-job training- Structured training provided by a public or private sector employer, for profit or not, to a worker who earns wages while performing productive work on a job, which provides new knowledge or new skills essential to a full and adequate performance of work.     

Custom Training - It is designed and developed to meet the particular needs of an employer or group of employers, with the commitment to retain in employment those workers who successfully complete the training. The employer has the following options to select the resources necessary to offer training to employees.     

External Resources - Professionals (individuals) and / or non-educational entities that provide training services (training) and that have the necessary credentials to offer the required training.     

Educational Institutions - Colleges, institutions and / or universities that provide continuing education services, certifications and / or degrees and that have the necessary credentials to offer the required training.     

Internal Resources - Internal personnel of the applicant company who have the competencies (knowledge, experience, skills, abilities and attitude) to train (train) a new employee in a particular professional or vocational occupation.     

Training for Incumbent Workers - It is training designed to meet the special requirements of an employer or group of employers to retain a skilled workforce or avoid the need to lay off employees by assisting workers in obtaining the skills necessary to retain employment. The training is conducted with the employer's commitment to retain or avoid the layoffs of the trained incumbent workers.     


Governor Pedro Pierluisi, through Administrative Bulletin No.: P-2022-251, recognizes from November 14 to 20, 2022, the National Apprenticeship Week, urging us to promote and expand this program in Puerto Rico. 


What is the Registered Apprenticeship program?

The Registered Apprenticeship system has been used to meet the occupational needs of the United States workforce for more than 80 years. It is a unique and flexible training system that combines job-related technical theory or related instruction with the structured experience of on-the-job training, also known as on-the-job training. Registered Apprenticeship is the leading initiative in preparing workers in America to compete in a 21st century global economy.

Why? Because it is a specific and standardized teaching system that keeps pace with advanced technologies for the training and development of human resources.

The Registered Apprenticeship system is the ideal opportunity for workers seeking competitive and well-paid jobs; and to employers seeking to develop a highly skilled, cutting-edge workforce that can cope with the changes and demands of the global marketplace.

In this sense, Registered Apprenticeship effectively meets the needs of employers and workers. Registered Apprenticeship is extremely active in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing. Still, it is making rapid progress in the medical services, energy, communications, IT and national security sectors.

Registered Apprenticeship program requirements

Registered Apprenticeship programs are a written plan designed to direct an apprentice with low or no skills to achieve a range of competitive skills within a given occupation. These programs must comply with the parameters established in the National Apprenticeship Law designed to protect the well-being of the apprentice. The Act and its enacted regulations are administered by the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) of the Federal Department of Labor (USDOL) or a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA) approved by the secretary of the Federal Department of Labor for such purposes.

Each Registered Apprenticeship program is sponsored by an individual company or an association of companies. Other organizations that could work these programs in conjunction with employers are: labor unions, universities, vocational technical colleges or specialized training providers.

Upon completion of the training program, the apprentice obtains a nationally recognized credential issued by USDOL which validates the formal training received in the given occupation.

There are also representative entities of the industries, identified asStandards Recognition Entities, SER for its acronym in English, which through an application process are recognized by the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship to administer Registered Apprenticeship programs. SERs can: specialized industries, employer groups, associations, higher education institutions, among others.

The sponsor of each Registered Apprenticeship program identifies the minimum requirements necessary to participate in their Apprenticeship program. The eligible starting age cannot be less than 16 years old; however, candidates generally must be 18 years old to apprentice into hazardous occupations. Program sponsors may also identify additional minimum qualifications and credentials to apply, for example, prior education, fitness, or physical skills to perform the essential functions of the occupation. Other methods such as aptitude tests, interviews and previous work experience, are valid requirements that sponsors can demand of candidates who are interested in entering the program.

Advantages of the Program

Benefits of the Registered Apprenticeship system for apprentices:

  • Improvement of skills and competencies to meet the specific needs of the employer.
  • Promotes salary increases as your skills and knowledge improve.
  • It is job training and education focused on occupation.
  • Pursue the professional growth of the apprentice inside or outside his industry.
  • Obtaining a credential issued by the USDOL or the industry, recognized nationally.

Benefits for employers include:

  • Personalized training resulting in highly skilled employees trained in company and industry specifications.
  • Increased productivity and knowledge transfer due to the assistance and following of a mentor in on-the-job learning and related technical instruction.
  • Higher retention: "87 percent of the apprentices who completed the program in 2011 were still employed nine months after completing their apprenticeship."
  • Reduction in workers' compensation expenses: Training emphasizes the importance of carrying out tasks with health and safety in mind, helping to reduce compensation costs for accidents in the workplace.
  • Opportunity to develop stable and predictable workers who fill positions of responsibility as business needs increase.
  • Space to observe and evaluate the areas where the employer must reinforce and the employee must strengthen his improvement process.
  • A proven training model that guarantees to bring certified employees to the highest levels required by the occupation and allows employers to establish the benchmark and structure that can determine the Return on Investment in dollars.


The Department of Economic Development and Commerce through the Workforce Development Program is the state agency in Puerto Rico authorized by the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship (OA) to administer the Registered Apprenticeship program on the island. Our office is responsible for:

  1. Register apprenticeship programs that meet federal standards.
  2. Watch over the safety and well-being of the apprentices.
  3. Apply to USDOL for nationally recognized and portable credentials once trainees complete their training program.
  4. Promote the development of new programs through marketing and technical assistance to future sponsors.
  5. Ensure that all programs adhere to the fundamentals of the Registered Apprenticeship program for the benefit of apprentices.
  6. Ensure that all programs provide high-quality training.
  7. Ensure that all programs produce skilled and competent workers for the benefit of their industries.


Immediate work!

Apprentices start working from day one receiving salary increases[1] as they become more competent on the job[2] . Apprenticeships range from one to six years, but most are two to four years long. In 2011, more than 130,000 people in the United States became apprentices.

Work and educate yourself!

Apprenticeship is the only training model where you learn and generate income in a combination of theory and structured practice accompanied by work guided by a mentor.

Receive related instruction, through the internal resources of the employer, technical schools, community colleges or other higher education institutions in person or at a distance, applying the most efficient technological resources so that you enjoy yourlearningprocess .

Your objective: Todevelop the maximum of your skills and knowledge in the well-being of your professional career and for the benefit of your employer.

Don't you have a diploma?

Upon completion of a Registered Apprenticeship program, participants receive a credential issued by the Federal Department of Labor or by industry, nationally recognized and portable. This credential - equivalent to a diploma - certifies occupational competence, and opens the way to a career path. In many cases, these programs provide apprentices with the opportunity to pursue or continue secondary and post-secondary education simultaneously. In 2011, more than 55,000 participants across the United States graduated from a Registered Apprenticeship program.

[1] The amount and frequency of salary increases are determined by the employers. Neither the DDEC nor the PDL has the power to determine the amount or frequency of the salary increases.

[2] To meet the standards of the Registered Apprenticeship program, employers assume responsibility for awarding the salary increase (s) to the apprentice completing a certain number of hours of on-the-job training. The interval of hours between increases is determined by the employer.

PDL Initiatives

Current Initiatives

Fund for the Prevention of Unemployment COVID-19     

On March 12, 2020, the then governor of Puerto Rico declared a state of emergency as a result of the threat to public health associated with COVID-19. Subsequently, the former governor and the current Governor of Puerto Rico, Hon. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, have proclaimed several Executive Decrees in order to promote "social distancing" and protect citizens from a further spread of the disease.     

In order to support employers facing financial impacts due to the measures taken to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the Labor Development Program (hereinafter, “PDL”) established the so-called Prevention Fund for COVID-19 layoffs. The COVID-19 Severance Prevention Fund will direct the grants to Employers or other organizations in Puerto Rico, as described below, and who experience economic problems in order to mitigate possible layoffs or closures of facilities due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for a maximum amount of $ 50,000. The amount to be assigned to each employer will be subject to the extraordinary expenses incurred by the employer related to the COVID-19 crisis and such expenses may lead to the dismissal of employees in order to continue operating.     


Eligible applicants are those employers, including Non-Profit Organizations, Community Based Organizations, and Institutions of Higher Education, who meet the following requirements:     

  • They have 500 or fewer employees, including self-employed individuals;       
  • Demonstrate the need for support for the prevention of unemployment. Understand the extraordinary expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19.       


Do you want to apply to the Fund? Here we detail what you need to be able to complete the application:     

  • Official ID of the Government of Puerto Rico and / or Passport with a valid photo of the principal;       
  • Merchant Registry of the Department of the Treasury;       
  • In the event that a corporation appears through an authorized representative or resident agent, a Corporate Resolution must be included authorizing it to request the funds on behalf of the Corporation;       
  • The commitment to retain employees up to one hundred twenty (120) calendar days from the date of granting of the subsidy, included in the application.       
  • Invoices for goods and / or services that are related to the emergency with evidence of receipts and the payment method used to acquire them. All invoices, purchase receipts and / or payment methods must be dated March 12, 2020, the date on which the State of Emergency was declared.       

Companies that meet the requirements must submit the application with the documents at: .     

If you received the funds and did not reach the maximum of $ 50,000.00 and continue to incur expenses related to COVID-19, you can apply again by emailing If your application was denied and you continue to incur COVID-19-related expenses, you can apply again by emailing Applications received will be reviewed and evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability of funds. No incomplete application will be considered. "     


Participating employers must use the funds to prevent layoffs of employees and comply with the provisions of "social distancing" and sanitation in the workplace, established by public health entities at the state and federal level. Requests must be reasonable, necessary and directly related to the purposes of the COVID-19 Unemployment Prevention Fund . All applications received will be reviewed and evaluated by the Labor Development Program and the Local Labor Development Boards. Permitted activities include, but are not limited to the following:     

  • The purchase of remote access equipment to allow employees to work from home instead of being laid off (computers, printers, telephones, headsets, etc.);       
  • Buy programs or "software" applications, necessary to work remotely;       
  • The purchase of supplies and / or cleaning / sanitation services or safety equipment that allow a company exempted or authorized by government mandate, to keep employees in the work area;       
  • The purchase of supplies and / or cleaning / sanitation services that allow an employer to resume operations, at the end of the emergency, if this extraordinary expense impacts the payment of payroll and would have as a consequence the unemployment of part of its workforce       
  • Pay the increase or difference from the regular policy of public liability insurance, for those merchants who have included the home delivery service, due to the State of Emergency, in accordance with the promulgated Executive Orders;       
  • Other approaches and strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs will be subject to review and approval of the PDL (operating expenses, excluding payroll). Among these operational expenses may be considered those incurred by the employer in the payment of rent, water, electricity, local telephone, cell phones and internet services, among others. The Local Labor Development Boards will refer to these exceptional cases to the PDL, for its review and approval.       

Learn More

Past initiatives


The Department of Economic Development and Commerce is responsible for managing the funds of the DISABILITY RESOURCE COORDINATION COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT (DRCCA ,     

for its acronym in English).     

This program is covered under the WIOA Act, with the purpose of helping people with disabilities to enter the workforce as soon as possible. This, subject to availability of funds. Allowable use of funds under the DRCCA may include:     

Identification of Services: Identify and assess the location, status and immediate needs of people with disabilities.     

Connection or Referral to Services: Refer to recommended services, offer necessary support, and prepare them to connect / reconnect with the Workforce Development System and other services that help them find employment.     

  • Advice on benefits and financial education.       
  • Services necessary to insert participants in the labor market.       

Equipment Purchase:     

  1. All kinds of merchandise, materials, accessories, equipment, parts and supplies
  2. Communication devices
  3. Technology, including augmentative and assistive technology
  4. Prosthetics, durable medical equipment

Matching of funds for the purchase of sophisticated equipment and others.     

Access to WIOA - Services and monitoring of the American Job Center ( AJC ,     

for its acronym in English).     

  • Participants will have access to WIOA Title I activities, Adult, Displaced Workers or Youth programs, as applicable.       
  • AJC staff will follow up to help participants find and keep a job.       

Requirements to Qualify:     

  • Affected by Hurricanes Irma or María       
  • Low income, according to WIOA requirements       
  • Evidence certifying impediment       
  • Person with a disability who is at risk of losing his or her job       
  • Submit the required documentation       
  • Participants must be able, fit and available to work        

Aida Rivera Suárez

Dx: Osteoarthritis

Equipment delivered: Orthopedic Shoes        

Carmelo Sastre
Juris Doctor

Works from home

Dx: Muscular Dystrophy /Charcott Marie Rooth

Equipment: Customized Motorized Wheelchair

Ramony Caraballo

School Social Worker

Dx: Fibromyalgia

Equipment: Electric Scooter

Sheila Berrocales
University Student

DX: Hearing and Sight loss

Equipment: Tablet, Bluetooth Keyboard, with several apps, Magnifier and Pearl Camera.

Iván Díaz Carrasquillo
BA in Commercial Administration and Juris Doctor.

Works at the PR Tourism Company as Interim Tax Incentives Director

Dx: Quadriplegia

Equipment: Customized Motorized Wheel Chair

Olga Soto Malavé
Stylist in a Beauty Parlor

Dx:  Hearing Loss

Equipment: Headphones

Luis G. Martel
23 years

Dx: Level 1 Autism y Deficit Attention Disorder and Focal Epilepsy

3 years of studies at the PR Art School Conservatory

Skills in scripts development and movies performance

Equipment Tablet with apps recommended by the PRATP

Joselito Valle Román

Dx: Deafness

Works as Factory Operator

Equipment: Haedphones

Cristalia Herrera

Works as Cashier in a Supermarket

Dx: Bilateral Displasia in both hips with Espondilosis

Equipmente: Crutches

Glorimar Herminia Santiago
46 years

BA in Education Arts

Elementary School Teacher

DX:- Profound Bilateral Deafness

Equipment: Headphones for both ears

Luis Quintana Moreno
33 years

Works as Proyect Coordinator in a Foundation

Dx: Deaf

BA, Comunication and Education

Equipment: Headphones

Pablo Lozada,
44 years

High School Diploma

Dx: Severe Glaucoma in both eyes

Equipment: Magnifier and Talking Watch

Héctor Vega Vázquez

Dx: Paralysis of both legs

Equipment: Abductor y Shoe Holders

Business Capitalization expired on September 30, 2020     

The Department of Economic Development and Commerce DDEC requested a waiver in order to assist small businesses that were affected by the passage of hurricanes Irma and María. The funds approved, under the National Dislocated Workers Grant (NDWG) go to:      

  • The immediate recovery and cleaning of Puerto Rico.       
  • Contribute to the acceleration of the economy.       
  • Support small businesses.       
  • Encourage the creation and retention of employment.       

The Federal Department of Labor (DOL) assigns the DDEC:     

$2,500,000.00 from Emergency Funds under the NDWG for Business Capitalization.     

499 employers have benefited for a total of $ 2,317,841.57.     

American Job Center