Devastation forced a pregnant mother and her family to leave Puerto Rico. Now she is continuing her career in education as a special needs teachers in Polk County.
Sylvia Ortiz has lived her entire life in Puerto Rico. Although she admits she has thought about relocating to Florida before, since she has family in Lakeland.
Ortiz is proud to say she provided for her immediate family with a home, car and a steady job. Ortiz, an educator for the government of Puerto Rico, has worked with special needs children since she began as a teacher.
But after Hurricane Irma passed, then Hurricane Maria ravaged her island, Ortiz uprooted her family and moved to Polk County. Her home was still standing, but Ortiz was concerned about health care, since she is pregnant and also has a two-year-old son.
In early October, Ortiz, her husband and toddler flew from Puerto Rico, into Orlando.
Since then, Ortiz says she applied for countless job, but only one matter.
Tuesday, she signed with the Polk County School board and will become a special needs teacher with Garner Elementary.
Polk County School Board says they are recruiting Puerto Rican teachers in need of a job. Administration will be hosting a job fair specifically targeted towards Puerto Ricans looking for work on December 9 in Orlando. It will be held at Lake Marion Creek Middle School from 9 a.m. to noon.
The school board is still in search of 48 teachers and the average pay for a teacher in Polk County is about $46,500.