Skills for Sustainability Initiative celebrates graduation of El Paso/Juarez trainees

Category: News
Published: 2024-03-07
Skills for Sustainability Initiative celebrates graduation of El Paso/Juarez trainees

EL PASO, TX – The Trust for the Americas, in collaboration with the North American Development Bank (NADBank), Microsoft, and STTE Foundation, proudly announces the graduation of the second cohort of participants from the Skills for Sustainability (S4S) project in El Paso. Skills for Sustainability, a binational workforce development initiative spearheaded by The Trust for the Americas and funded by NADBank and Microsoft, empowers individuals to become the next generation of water operators and drive sustainable development in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.

S4S graduates, many of whom come from vulnerable backgrounds, are trained in digital, life, and technical skills, specifically for entry-level positions in the water sector. The program represents a pivotal milestone in the ongoing efforts to cultivate a more resilient and equitable future for the region.

Recent reports underscore the critical challenges facing the water sector in the border region of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, including scarcity and the fact that one-third of the water sector workforce is eligible to retire in the next 10 years.

During the event, Linda Eddleman, CEO of The Trust for the Americas, emphasized the significance of addressing the critical challenges facing border communities. “Through initiatives like Skills for Sustainability and partnerships with organizations like NADBank, Microsoft, El Paso Water, and our local partners STTE and Western Tech, we are empowering individuals to be agents of change and drive meaningful progress in the region,” said Eddleman.

The Trust for the Americas and STTE partnered with El Paso Water and other regional water entities to secure job placement for S4S graduates. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar’s participation at this event emphasized the effort to bring the region’s challenges to the forefront on Capitol Hill, enhancing the visibility and awareness of the critical issues facing El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. “I’m delighted to recognize the second class of graduates from the Skills for Sustainability project in our community,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “I’m proud of the dedicated organizations that are stepping up for young people in El Paso, ensuring they receive all the resources, tools, and opportunities they can get. With a large group of the water sector workforce soon retiring, I’m pleased that initiatives like S4S are helping proactively address the gap in employees.”

“NADBank is thrilled to be part of this initiative that aims to help meet the demand for skilled workers in the water industry by providing training and job placement for vulnerable, low-income populations on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border,” mentioned John Beckham, NADBank Managing Director.

Following the graduation ceremony, a series of high-level meetings convened with influential stakeholders, including members of Congress, representatives from NADBank, civil society organizations, and leaders from the public and private sectors. These discussions focused on the continued role of S4S in driving meaningful change across the region, and how this collaboration reflects a strategic approach to enhancing the area’s environmental resilience and sustainability initiatives.