Make your home page

La Plaza Spanish pilot skilled trade course helping to provide construction certification

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A pilot trade course focused on Spanish skills is proving to be successful. La Plaza is graduating 16 people with valuable certifications. Representatives say this work will be instrumental in breaking pay barriers and diversifying a growing industry.

The first cohort welcomed 21, with half of them being women. Organizers say many participants already have construction backgrounds, but these special certifications allow them to find better paying jobs to better provide for their families.

Victor Velasquez was an engineer in his home country, but that skill alone wouldn’t be enough to pick up the trade here in the US. He’s one of many to have completed a skills course with LA Plaza’s Latino opportunity center.

“Because of their countries of origin, they do not have a document that says they are certified to be able to exercise the skills,” Velasquez said.

When he finished, Spanish instruction wasn’t an option. Today it is, so he’s helping the next class. The skilled trade Spanish pilot program welcomed 21 students searching for a new a new trade, and economic stability.

“There are opportunities that they aren’t able to utilize because there is a language barrier. it’s important for companies to offer services in Spanish so Latin people can continue to grow,” Velasquez said.

La Plaza in partnership with BY Construction and support from the Lilly endowment is providing the course. Organizers say education is key, to building opportunity, grateful that of the 21 students, half are women.

“I think that is a big deal when we were promoting the program, we were intentional about mentioning that this program is for men and women,” Mariana Lopez-Owens said.

La Plazas continues to provide other wrap around services. Agencies like Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Lowes have helped financially as well.

“They have also been instrumental in providing additional barrier buster funds for this cohort in particular,” Lopez-Owen said. “So, we are very grateful to them and the many other funders who have supported the program.”

The first cohort is wrapping up. La Plaza says it is evaluating this cohort to better plan for the next. If you’re interested, they say be on the lookout for the second cohort coming early next year.