Bilingual workforce development center to fill vacant York City bank building

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

A new workforce development center, which will open next year inside a shuttered bank building in downtown York City, will soon serve as a hub for a variety of training programs.

Tec Centro York, which will take over the former M&T Bank building at 800 E. Market St., is modeled on similar bilingual centers in Lancaster and Reading.

"Our program was designed to provide equitable access for workforce services to marginalized communities," said Marlyn Barbosa, Tec Centro's program director. "This is not a cookie cutter program. Tec Centro empowers communities providing technical skills that ensure they will have and sustain jobs."

The details are still being worked out, as the workforce center aims for an opening in mid-2023, but it will follow the model created at other locations. That could include training programs in the culinary, mechanical and medical fields, in addition to English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED classes. It will also host job fairs and other community events.

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Its unveiling on Tuesday was attended by a variety of local public officials including Republican state Rep. Stan Saylor and Democratic York City Mayor Michael Helfrich.

Tec Centro York emerged from a partnership between the Spanish American Civic Association (SACA) and the York Community Resource Center, which will operate the center. M&T Bank, meanwhile, joined the partnership by offering the vacant bank building as the center's new home.

No director has been chosen for the Tec Centro York branch, Barbosa said, but the organization has begun its hiring process. 

The existing Tec Centro locations have a $50 processing fee for workforce programs and a $25 processing fee for classes, according to the Tec Centro website. 

"I'm so excited that M&T and the Spanish American Civic Association can come together to bring us this new center that is going to provide education, job training, career placement and bilingual skills to our entire community," Helfrich said at Tuesday's event. 

Jose Serrano, York Community Resource Center's chairman, believes that the Tec Centro model has demonstrated its potential to add value to communities by upscaling workers and placing them into in demand jobs. 

"When the party is over and the confetti is done, there's a lot to be done to make sure that this is successful," Serrano said. "But I have no doubt that the team that is in place is up to the task." 

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM.