Tec Centro (SACA) Invest to Empower Fund
About the Organization
Tec Centro is South-Central Pennsylvania’s primary provider of bilingual education and skills training to low-income individuals. Strategically located in the southeast quadrant of Lancaster, Tec Centro serves more than 1,200 people annually, approximately 10% of the population of that area.
Underemployment amongst Hispanics and African Americans in Lancaster County is estimated at over 44%. While the unemployment rate in Lancaster City for the Latino population is 27% and the African American unemployment rate is 33%. In addition, many family wage earners are underemployed – forced to work two or more minimum or near-minimum wage jobs to provide sufficient income for their families. In terms of educational achievement, at 24% the southeast area has a significantly higher concentration of individuals who lack a high school diploma compared to the county average of 15%. Additionally, southeast Lancaster has a lower percentage of individuals with a post high school degree, 6%, versus a county rate of 12%.
SACA’s mission is to foster and perpetuate the cultural, social, and economic well being of both the Latino population and the community at large. Tec Centro Bilingual Technology Center, a modern, $2.5 million state-of-the-art facility, seeks to provide residents of Lancaster, and particularly the City’s southeast area, with a pathway out of poverty and an opportunity to expand their educational, linguistic, and job skills to enable them to qualify for career-oriented jobs in high-demand occupations, thus also ensuring that local private employers have the skilled labor needed for future growth.
Tec Centro collaborates with area community colleges and training programs to provide the skill training that will lead to careers in high-demand areas, including: allied health occupations, construction trades, culinary arts, commercial and industrial building maintenance, and bank teller/customer service representatives. All participants receive career counseling and placement assistance. Graduates are placed in high-demand jobs and careers in our community, contributing to the economic well being of Lancaster County. When a family is able to be self-sufficient, they rise out of the cycle of poverty, empowering generations onward and enriching the fabric of our community forever.
In 2017 Tec Centro served 1,226 individuals with 3,708 services
201 of those individuals were provided job training (including short trainings; like forklift)
94 of those individuals were served in the ESL training program
78% of students attained the HS Equivalency Diploma
66% of individuals secured employment after completing job trainings
This endowment fund was created by the Spanish American Civic Association to advance the social and economic conditions of those in our community that are unemployed or underemployed. The accrued interest of the Tec Centro Investor’s Fund will directly support student scholarships, instructor costs and fees, classroom activities, student placement activities, and community outreach efforts. Through education and training, Tec Centro has been able to end the cycle of poverty.
Carlos Graupera, Founder SACA
Marlyn Barbosa, Program Director
102 Chester Street
Lancaster, PA 17602
Website: Tec Centro