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AIRBNB WANTS YOU TO VISIT PUERTO RICO

CNET

Airbnb announced last month that it is expanding its partnership efforts to Puerto Rico in order to promote tourism on the island and provide aid in reconstruction efforts after the territory was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. All fees from its bookings in Puerto Rico  will be donated to local recovery organizations over a period of three months. Additionally, the home-rental company is launching 50 new experiences throughout Puerto Rico, which will result in visitors and guests booking local tours and tourist activities. The initiative also includes the launch of a marketing partnership with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. This joint initiative strives to expand and promote sustainable tourism in Puerto Rico and encourage travelers to visit the island. “It’s important to encourage people to continue to visit Puerto Rico,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said on the subject. “This is a superpower that Airbnb has.”

WHY IT MATTERS: Hurricane Maria is considered the worst natural disaster to affect Puerto Rico, and it hit only two weeks after the territory was pummeled by Hurricane Irma. The storm devastated the island’s infrastructure, displaced thousands of people, and left millions with no electricity, with CNN reporting that the death toll hovers around 4,600. Tourism is a crucial component of the Puerto Rican economy, and encouraging visitors and tourists to travel to the island will provide the economy with a necessary boost in order to rebuild in the storm’s aftermath.

IBM is partnering with more community colleges to train tech workers

FORTUNE

IBM has just announced that it is broadening partnerships with community colleges in an effort to train more workers for what it deems “new collar jobs – skilled positions in fast-growing tech fields that don’t necessarily require a four-year undergraduate degree.” The company plans to work with community colleges located near some of its major U.S. locations to develop relevant curricula (including five-week courses on operating system platforms, virtualization, coding, and IT troubleshooting) and offer local community college students internships and apprenticeships.

WHY IT MATTERS: Educating and recruiting at the community college level will significantly expand the talent pipeline of tech companies. This initiative diversifies the workforce of the IT industry, in terms of background and experience, which provides a valuable set of differing perspectives, skills, and talents. Students who may not be able to afford a traditional four-year degree but possess the same skills and work ethic of a student in a bachelor’s program can now be exposed to similar opportunities in the technology and IT fields.  

Beyond 34: recycling and recovering for a new economy 

U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FOUNDATION

Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy is a first-of-its kind project that strives to increase the current 34% recycling rate in the United States by utilizing a scalable model for improving recycling rates. The City of Orlando has been chosen as the first city to kick-off the initiative. The project will be applied as a private-public partnership between the U.S. Chamber Foundation, RRS, the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Orlando. RRS plans to facilitate development of a recycling business plan for the Orlando region that keeps recyclable material out of landfills. The project is also aimed at identifying greater recycling opportunities for materials generated from industrial, commercial, and residential sources.

WHY IT MATTERS: Initiatives of this kind are a significant stride towards reducing waste that pollutes and harms our ecosystems. The goal of this project is to provide communities, cities, and businesses around the country with the means to create a more sustainable future through collaborative and effective private-public partnerships, and the city of Orlando piloting this project to reduce its environmental impact serves as a great example for other major urban areas across the United States.