A new movement is encouraging businesses to hire the services of Puerto Ricans who don't want to or cannot leave the island.  

  • Contrata PR means Hire Puerto Rico
  • Brings together businesses that want to help Puerto Rico
  • For workers who can't leave the islands

After Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, 9-year-old Yanniel Perez Melendez and his family lost absolutely everything.

In Spanish, Yanniel said, “Hurricane Maria took my roof… I lost my house, the TV, my bed.”

For this Puerto Rican family moving to Florida is a temporary fix. Their main goal is to move back to their homeland. In addition to losing their homes, Yanniel’s dad, Peter Perez lost his job. And he was also recently diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a gastrointestinal illness.

“It is a difficult time,” he explained. 

He is getting help from Miriam Perez, a business coach in Puerto Rico who is here in the U.S. to find companies outside of the island willing to hire working professionals over there.

“Not all of us want to leave the island, not all of us can, but we all do have to work,” she said. “It’s a reality, we need a job. All we want is an opportunity.”

Perez has created an initiative called Contrata PR -- meaning Hire Puerto Rico. The aim is to bring together companies that wish to help the island by hiring Puerto Rican talent. This project is something the Perez-Melendez family wants to be a part of.

Yanniel’s mom, Lucy Melendez, not only wants to pick up the pieces of her life but help rebuild the country she calls home.

“We need to fix our home to go back. The island will definitely rise with our help -- the help of all Puerto Ricans,” Melendez said.

Any companies outside the island that are recruiting and are interested in professionals from Puerto Rico, go to the Contrata PR website.