(Reading, PA) The recently formed nonprofit Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation (BLWDC) has appointed Darleen Garcia as their first Executive Director. In her new role, Garcia will guide the organization in its efforts towards fostering economic empowerment among the Hispanic population in Berks County.
Garcia, a Brooklyn, New York native and raised in the “Los Sures” community area of Williamsburg, has devoted her career to addressing socioeconomic disparities in some of the nation’s most impoverished neighborhoods within Chicago, New York City, Boston, and Southern New Jersey. Most recently, she worked in New York City where she served predominantly Black, Latinos, and immigrant adult learners seeking career development training or employment opportunities, literacy skills, and college prep programs. Garcia’s training and experience in the nonprofit, community and economic development, and higher education sectors will help the BLWDC stabilize neighborhoods in Berks by offering residents tools and opportunities to exit poverty. Simultaneously, the BLWDC hopes to assist local businesses by supplying newly skilled workers.
The BLWDC focuses on helping residents create greater economic wealth and will utilize culturally appropriate platforms to fulfill its mission. They will provide resources related to gaining self-awareness, education, and career development training. As best expressed by Karen Rightmire, President of the Wyomissing Foundation, “The best social service intervention is a good job.” The Wyomissing Foundation has committed $450,000 to support the new organization, which will be distributed over three years.
“Latinos are hardworking and determined individuals”, says Darleen Garcia. “Youth and adults seeking academic advancement face the harsh reality of limited funding and access to a college education. Many opt to complete training programs that will bridge them to other career objectives that they can complete over time.”
Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation looks forward to further partnering with community leaders, nonprofits, and investors seeking to reduce poverty in Reading. The organization plans to establish a technology center and programs that will build English proficiency, certification programs, career readiness, literacy skills such as high school equivalency, and provide other wrap-around services.
“We want residents to know that we want the very best for them”, states Garcia. “This translates into offering the support necessary to lift them out of poverty and gain a strong sense of neighborhood identity and agency.”
The BLWDC has completed their strategic plan for moving forward and is currently pursuing additional funding opportunities.