US institutions & Honduran university to train textile workforce


North Carolina educational institutions are joining forces with a key Honduran university to educate and train thousands of students for the next generation textile workforce to meet a rising tide of nearshoring and onshoring in Honduras, Central America and the United States.

With backing from the US Department of State, North Carolina State University, Gaston College, and Catawba Valley Community College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Honduran-based Central American Technological University (UNITEC) today at a signing ceremony at Gaston College in Dallas, NC.

US educational institutions are joining forces with a key Honduran university to educate and train thousands of students for the next generation textile workforce to meet a rising tide of nearshoring and onshoring in Central America and the US. The US and this region are linked through a textile and apparel co-production chain under the CAFTA-DR.

High-level US and Honduran government officials, including Jose W. Fernandez, under secretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment; Jennifer Knight, deputy assistant secretary for textiles, consumer goods and materials at the US Department of Commerce; and Hector Zelaya, private secretary to Honduran President Xiomara Castro, had participated in a roundtable discussion with textile executives and educational leaders as well as the MOU signing ceremony.

The US Department of State has issued a statement of public support for the MOU and the unique collaboration between the US and Honduran institutions.

The ground-breaking initiative will launch a series of educational workforce development programmes, ranging from training and certificate programmes to undergraduate and graduate degrees, in textile-related areas of study.

The partnership comes at a defining moment for the US, Honduras, and Central America, which are seeing historical levels of investment in textile and apparel production stemming from a global supply chain crisis that has driven a significant shift in sourcing out of Asia to the US and the region. Nearly $1 billion of historic textile and apparel investment is anticipated in the US and Central America this year alone. And this partnership also creates an educational pathway to economic opportunity in Honduras and the region that not only creates a skilled and resilient workforce but can also help to address the root causes of irregular migration.

Current growth projections indicate a need for more than 10,000 new skilled workers in the textile industry in Honduras alone over the next five years. In order to meet these needs, educational programming is needed at all levels.

The US and this region are inextricably linked through a textile and apparel co-production chain under the US-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) that has generated $12.6 billion in annual two-way trade in the sector and supports 1 million workers in the US and the region.

“As we work to create more sustainable and resilient global supply chains, this sector is in a window of opportunity,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight. “The innovations that US and Central American textile and apparel companies create to reduce environmental impact and increase transparency across their supply chains can set them apart from global competitors, and today’s workforce development initiative is a key element in turning this vision into reality.”

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (NB)



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