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Nasheli Ortiz Gonzalez, executive director of Taller (left); Rafael Ramirez Rivera, interim president of Inter (center) and Elena DiLapi, president of the Taller Puertorriqueño Board of Directors (right).
Nasheli Ortiz Gonzalez, executive director of Taller Puertorriqueño (left); Rafael Ramirez Rivera, interim president of Inter-American University of Puerto Rico (center) and Elena DiLapi, president of Taller Puertorriqueño Board of Directors (right).

Inter-American University of Puerto Rico inaugurates educational center in Philadelphia

Inter-Philadelphia Educational Center (IPEC) will start operations in the Spring and will be located in the facilities of Taller Puertorriqueño.

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Aiming to offer the Hispanic population an opportunity to complete a university degree in Philadelphia; on Oct. 11th, Inter-American University of Puerto Rico (UIPR) inaugurated the new Inter-Philadelphia Educational Center (IPEC). The center will start operations in the Spring — with initially 25 students. IPEC will be located in the facilities of Taller Puertorriqueño, a community organization that preserves, develops, and promotes Puerto Rican arts and culture. Philadelphia is the second city in the United States with the largest number of Puerto Ricans — around 135,000.  

“The main mission of this educational center is to provide an accessible and affordable academic program in an inclusive learning environment,” said Zaima Guzmán, Executive Director of Public Relations and Communications at UIPR. 

The institution will provide a unique opportunity for the Latino community to broaden their opportunities to enhance their professional credentials, increase their chances to join the workforce, and advance in their professional careers, Guzmán added.

Dr. Rafael Ramírez Rivera, interim president of UIPR, said the new center will address the teachers shortage in Philadelphia. Rivera added that the need to train professionals who can meet the requirements of the Philadelphia Department of Education was the driving force behind this initiative.

“As we join efforts to bring youth and adults to the full development of their capabilities, we will succeed in creating better citizens,” Rivera said. 

After an investment of almost $600,000, the new center will have high-tech classrooms and will be a place for students to gather. Students will have access to UIPR’s Library System, to virtual services for professional counseling, and tutorials. 

IPEC will begin academic operations by offering a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education: Preschool Level — and the tuition will be $300 per credit. Their wish is to meet the demand for professionals in the educational system, at the elementary level. 

Of huge importance for Philadelphia, Taller was chosen to be the home of IPEC because of its commitment to spreading cultural diversity in the city. Since Taller was established, in 1974, it has elevated and preserved Puerto Rican and Latino culture through arts and cultural programs. The space where the cultural center is located now opened its doors in 2016 and strengthens Taller's position among Pennsylvania's most prominent Latino arts organizations. 

With a new center in Philadelphia, UIPR has now three centers outside Puerto Rico. The other two are located in Orlando, Florida, and Panama. These centers are part of an expansion and internationalization plan.  

Admission applications for IPEC are already available at https://philadelphia.inter.edu/. Interested students can also contact them at [email protected] 

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