Leveraging Mackenzie Scott Grant, La Colaborativa Strategically Acquires 50 Heard Street as Part of Bold Vision of Economic Empowerment

Special to the Record

La Colaborativa, the Commonwealth’s leading nonprofit organization committed to uplifting Latinx and immigrant communities, announced the acquisition of 50 Heard St. in Chelsea for the development of the Workforce Training and Certification Institute, a first-of-its-kind, contemporary hub of economic mobility in Chelsea.

After securing a $2 million grant from Mackensie Scott, La Colaborativa decisively acquired this vacant property to lay the groundwork for this consequential project.

“We’re grateful to Mackensie Scott, as well as our partners at Eastern Bank and MassDevelopment, for supporting us in catalyzing this historic project,” said Gladys Vega, President of La Colaborativa. “This strategic acquisition represents our next chapter at La Colaborativa, where our residents can flourish in careers that can transform their community.”

A hallmark of La Colaborativa’s green jobs strategy, Workforce Training and Certification Institute will be strategically located near public transit, walkable neighborhoods, and the City’s downtown. Devoid of a community center, residents of Chelsea are confronted by a scarcity of multilingual, accessible workforce development resources. Facing the daunting realities of displacement, Latinx and immigrant residents are often deprived of access to the training and job opportunities necessary to boost household income, particularly in durable growth sectors, such as clean energy, digital technology, and the building trades.

“After decades of disinvestment and persistent economic issues, our community deserves to remain, grow, and flourish in Chelsea,” stated Dinanyili Paulino, La Colaborativa Executive Vice President. “We look forward to deepening our collaboration with our neighbors, local officials, and philanthropic partners to bring this project to fruition.”

Following the acquisition, La Colaborativa is embarking on a community-driven design process to guide the redevelopment of the site. A vehicle for economic growth, the project will encapsulate a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility. The center will anchor hands-on, multilingual technical training and in-demand certifications in HVAC, electrical, carpentry, 3D printing, and technology, with a focus on empowering residents with limited English proficiency, women, young adults, and community members frequently excluded from the regional economy.

“Our residents embody resilience and ingenuity. They represent the future of our economy ” Alex Train, La Colaborativa Chief Operating Officer. “As we renew our focus on preventing displacement, the Workforce Training and Certificate Institute is a new approach to fostering multilingual workforce infrastructure that all residents can access.”

Employing sustainable design principles, the project will feature energy efficiency best practices and a resilient building envelope. Complementing the center, a lush, inviting public open space will provide respite from intensifying summer heat, distinguished by passive seating areas, native plant species, and green infrastructure As a momentous investment in equitable workforce infrastructure, La Colaborativa has launched a capital campaign to finance a portion of the redevelopment.

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