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A Cross-Sectoral Approach to Addressing Poverty in Hidalgo County

Building a Prosperous Future

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Unifying Forces for Prosperity: Mario Reyna joins a powerful assembly of regional leaders in the Building U Ballroom, South Texas College, addressing socioeconomic challenges and envisioning a prosperous future for Hidalgo County. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
Unifying Forces for Prosperity: Mario Reyna joins a powerful assembly of regional leaders in the Building U Ballroom, South Texas College, addressing socioeconomic challenges and envisioning a prosperous future for Hidalgo County. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

Texas Border Business

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By Roberto Hugo González

South Texas was witness to an unprecedented gathering in the Building U Ballroom of South Texas College in McAllen. Key figures from around the region assembled for a forum co-hosted by Futuro RGV and The Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force. This task force, created under the initiative of Hidalgo County judge Richard F. Cortez, represents an impactful attempt to tackle poverty issues that persist within the county.

The forum, a direct continuation of the work initiated by Futuro RGV, brought together influential leaders from diverse sectors such as media, economic growth, technology, and advanced education. Each leader brought their unique area of expertise, fostering a collaborative environment aimed at addressing the pressing socioeconomic issues at hand.

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Mario Reyna, a member of the Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force and a key player in this initiative, provided further insight into the Task Force’s objectives. Created in February 2020, the Task Force was borne out of a critical need to reduce the county’s high poverty rates, currently standing at 28-29%, a figure noticeably higher than the state and national averages.

To tackle this complex issue, the Task Force formulated thirteen dedicated groups, focusing on key areas such as housing, food insecurity, transportation, and medical services. Further groups are concentrated on providing financial advice, mentoring, counseling, workforce development, and higher education. The ultimate goal is to provide targeted assistance for various segments of the society to uplift their living standards and create a thriving economy.

However, Reyna acknowledges that the wealth of information available is too vast to be consumed by individuals or any single agency. To mitigate this, the Task Force emphasizes the importance of collaboration and communication, aiming to inform the public about available resources and opportunities that can assist in their socioeconomic improvement.

In addition to targeting local populations, the Task Force also hopes to attract attention at the state and national levels. The Hidalgo County boasts institutions that annually produce nearly 15,000 college graduates, a fact they hope will attract employers and businesses seeking a young, skilled workforce. The county’s potential as an attractive destination for investment and business expansion is part of their message to the nation.

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This forum was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Futuro RGV, South Texas College, Rio Grande Valley Partnership, and Atlas, Hall & Rodríguez. The driving vision behind the forum was to provide a comprehensive blueprint for the prosperity of the Hidalgo County community.

Dr. Nedra Kinerk, the President of Futuro RGV, underlined the significance of unity, collaboration, and the exchange of resources and information throughout the county’s communities. The forum represents an important step in Hidalgo County’s journey towards a prosperous future and serves as a model for other communities facing similar socioeconomic challenges.

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