Thirty-year-old entrepreneur Felix Ortiz has been passionate about helping people since he was very young. The U.S. Army veteran is a serial entrepreneur, having started several companies, including Visionary Trade & Export, at 20. The half Mexican, half Puerto Rican New York City native has launched what he has been working on for the past four years – Viridis – an online education company which offers online courses teaching skills for industries such as construction, hospitality and apparel manufacturing. It then matches the candidate’s goals, personality and skill set to place them in jobs that best maximize their potential.
“Our goal is to help them develop new skills through the Viridis platform,” said Ortiz. “With 90 percent of the global market in need of training at the middle-skill workforce level, Viridis was built with the notion of expanding to a global audience in hopes of improving the economy in countries across the world.”
With the number of unemployed at 11.3 million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Ortiz’ new technology platform is attempting to bridge the skills gap. Ortiz says he partnered with top trade associations in the U.S. in order to teach the online courses.
Ortiz served in the U.S. Army 18th Airborne Corps and JAG (Judge Advocate General) Corps for two years. As a veteran, he saw firsthand what his colleagues were going through trying to find jobs once they were back in civilian life.
“I saw a lot of friends having a hard time transitioning with mental issues, and a lot of them were not guided correctly. Once veterans are back, they have only have 90 days to transition, and many have PTSD, depression or are suicidal,” said Ortiz.
Ortiz says Viridis captures the mental abilities of awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment regardless of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
“Basically what hit me is that there is a huge gap in education in general,” he says.
“We created education to get people out of poverty, but people who are getting degrees are not getting jobs because the degree is not related to the skill,” says Ortiz.
He adds that what is occurring in higher education is that only those who can afford university costs obtain a degree, contributing to a gap in economic classes.
“Our goal is to bring back the middle class,” says Ortiz. “Users [of Viridis] can have a higher earning power,” he said, stating it is all about creating opportunity.