Improving Government Operations While Creating a High-Performance Workforce Part I

Developing a capable and skilled workforce and enhancing opportunities for the people of Puerto Rico has always been one of the top priorities for the Financial Oversight and Management Board. The Universidad de Puerto Rico – UPR (UPR), which serves as Puerto Rico’s principal center of higher education, plays an essential role in this process, while ensuring social mobility and the very needed prosperity the Island deserves.

The UPR certified #FiscalPlan allocates $20 million per year until FY2026 to provide services to the Central Government. One of these services includes a work-study program that will help agencies reduce backlog and help the UPR in diversifying revenues, while providing students with an opportunity to earn money and real work experience where they can put their knowledge into practice and cultivate the skills needed for succeeding in their professional life.

In today’s professional world, having a degree is not necessary enough to secure a job. We acknowledge that pertinent work experience is now just as valuable as the degree when it comes to building a successful career. Having that in mind, the Oversight Board welcomed collaboration agreements between the UPR and the Departamento de Justicia de Puerto Rico (2020) and the Permits Management Office (2021) to hire UPR students.

Since 2020, the Department of Justice has hired 170 students from UPR’s faculties of Law, Business Administration, Social Sciences and Humanities in the Property Registry Office to help reduce over 400,000 backlog cases. At an hourly wage of $15, their responsibilities entail the inscription of property documents, analysis of other official forms, such as the cancellation of mortgage deeds, declaration of heirs, as well as estimating the cost of internal revenue stamps for submitted documents. Students have done an outstanding job, helping the office reduce 40% of the backlog cases.

Likewise, the Permits Management Office has hired 180 students since 2021 to assist Planning Analysts of the Sub-program of Use of Land in the evaluation of filed cases and research.

This #FiscalPlan initiative has demonstrated that collaboration is key. Recently, the Department of Justice and the UPR extended their collaboration agreement at a cost of $2 million to continue providing UPR students with work-study opportunities. This type of collaboration, between the UPR and different agencies, is a prime example of how we can work together to improve efficiency and effectiveness across the government, while enhancing opportunities for the people and developing a high performing workforce.

There is no doubt that these kinds of initiatives can help students pick up skills that can directly impact their success in life. The Oversight Board will continue supporting those projects and encourages UPR to continue expanding these initiatives and develop new ones to continue contributing to Puerto Rico’s transformation. Certainly, there is no PR without the U.

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