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Knitting / Apparel

Haiti Apparel Center Opens

The Haiti Apparel Center (HAC) has officially opened in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to offer professional training for workers in Haiti's garment industry. The center, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is located in a facility made available by the Government of Haiti and refurbished and operated by international development organization CHF International, Silver Spring, Md.

Using a six-week program developed by Textile/Clothing Technology Corp. ([TC]2), Cary, N.C., HAC annually will train more than 2,000 sewing machine operators, mechanics, quality-control supervisors and other workers. It also will offer executive seminars for senior managers, factory owners and business leaders.

HAC will help Haiti take full advantage of the Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act, under which Haiti's exports have expanded access to U.S. markets. HELP also provides support for the rebuilding of Haiti's apparel industry, which will cost an estimated $38 million, according to a Congressional Research Service report.

"[HAC] will provide opportunities to improve the lives of thousands by increasing job skills and enabling Haitians to earn more," said Paul Weisenfeld, coordinator of USAID's Haiti Task Team. "In the last 30 years, the number of skilled garment workers in Haiti has dramatically declined, but we hope to reverse that trend."

September/October 2010