June 22, 2013
Message from the Chief Executive Officer
Some of you may know that I love the game of golf. I really haven’t played much in the last five years, because I love spending time with my family even more. However, I used to play a bunch when I was much younger. I started playing my sophomore year in high school. I picked up the game rather quickly. It helped that I worked part-time at a driving range and a par 3 golf course. Some of the Valley’s best at that time used to practice there, so I was the lucky recipient of many varieties of instruction. Eventually, I found my own swing, and like the cliché about bikes (once you learn, you never forget), although the short game falters when I do play now, the swing is pretty much the same as it was thirty years ago or so.
There are various programs that an economic development entity can undertake. Some of those include marketing and attraction, retention and expansion, finance, downtown revitalization, real estate development and reuse, workforce development, and many others. Harlingen EDC is involved in these to one extent or another.
In the past few years, Harlingen EDC has helped build a better-trained population in the Harlingen area by funding several different initiatives. VIDA or Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement, RGV LEAD (Linking Economic and Academic Development), Gulf Coast Trades Center, the RAHC, and others have received millions in the last ten years from Harlingen EDC. Yes, I said MILLIONS. And yes, education and workforce development are very important to us. I think part of why we have competed well against others in the call center industry, for example, has been because of the educated workforce in our area. Other examples of a company locating here because of the talented workforce would be ULA or United Launch Alliance and Cardone Industries, and even Pentair. TSTC knows how to get our young folks ready to work.
Since some of you may be new readers to this newsletter, I’ll mention that I originally started writing these news tidbits only for my Board of Directors as a way of communicating some events, or other activities on a regular basis. It’s grown a bit, but my core audience is still the leadership of the community. So, I think it is important to make sure facts are presented about us when we sometimes hear other things out on the streets.
HEDC has supported VIDA’s efforts since 2004. Including this fiscal year’s contribution of $200,000 to assist in educating Harlingen students striving to earn college degrees or certificates, we have expended $1,925,000 towards VIDA’s programs.
We have also invested $309,000 to RGV LEAD, formerly Tech Prep in the last 6 years. Gulf Coast Trades Center has been helping by providing GED classes to high-risk young adults, and we have contributed $90,000 to that organization in the last two years.
The University Center at TSTC was partially funded by a $4 million investment made by HEDC to provide Harlingen residents the opportunity to earn bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees without leaving Harlingen.
Yes, Harlingen has contributed towards the development of our workforce, and those investments have begun to pay off and we look forward to seeing even greater returns in the near future. For more about this topic, follow this link to our press release on supporting workforce development.
And here’s the connection between my golf game and workforce development: The more teachers one has, the better chance of improving one’s skills and thus, more success at the game of golf or the reality of life. So, if young adults continue their education and hone their skills, they’ll have to do it with more instruction from more teachers, whether in a classroom setting or otherwise.
This week, I also attended a NAAMREI Core Leadership Committee meeting, which discussed; you guessed it, workforce development. Click here to learn more about how Harlingen EDC and other agencies throughout South Texas have teamed up to advance workforce training through the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research and Education Initiative.
We’ve also worked with three food processing prospects, three manufacturing prospects, several logistics companies, a software development company, several retail establishments and others.
Our Business Development Manager, Ramiro Aleman was in Philadelphia working at a Medical Design and Manufacturing trade show, and in Baltimore attending an IEDC Business Retention and Expansion training course. Lyle Garza has also been working with UTB on several initiatives including reviewing the Kaufman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Training program, which we partially funded earlier this year, and may fund again in the near future, along with working on many of the prospects mentioned earlier.
We also started working with the Harlingen Chamber for an upcoming membership event. We are gearing up to participate with the local commercial brokers’ monthly meeting, and providing some input into the City’s Comprehensive Plan meeting with P&Z’s Ken Clark and the consultant, Halff & Associates. We met with some residential developers and provided them with valuable demographic and economic data, coordinated a meeting for the Harlingen Industrial Foundation, and much more.
One final note: our regularly-scheduled monthly Board of Directors meeting will be pushed to July 9th to allow staff some time to finalize some agreements with several prospects.Some more good news coming soon.
Have a great weekend!
News from around the Harlingen area and beyond
Manufacturing Building Available for Lease
1805 North Loop 499, Suite 110
Harlingen, TX 78550
72,000 Total SF available
24′ minimum clear height
and much more. Call the Harlingen EDC office for more information at 216-5081.