Texas Border Business
By Roberto Hugo González
The Rio Grande Valley, a region celebrated for its vibrant culture and a captivating blend of traditions, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) has quietly led a series of transformative initiatives. These initiatives have made monumental strides in fostering community development and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in this unique corner of Texas. At the heart of this effort is the Professional Education & Workforce Development Center, which provides professional education programs, industry certificates, and workforce development training to individuals and organizations seeking to enhance their knowledge and expertise.
Veronica Gonzales, the Senior Vice President for Government and Community Relations at UTRGV, and Ron Garza, the Associate Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development, are at the forefront of these visionary initiatives. They graciously shared their insights into the center’s crucial role with Texas Border Business.
Veronica explained, “The Professional Education & Workforce Development Center is designed to cater to individuals and organizations interested in advancing their expertise and knowledge. Think of it as a gateway to continuous learning.
Veronica pointed out, that you may have heard of similar programs offered by institutions like South Texas College (STC) or Texas State Technical College (TSTC). These programs are all about continuing education. “Let’s say you’re already working in a business, and they’re looking to transition you into human resources, but you lack the necessary certification. Well, that’s where we come in.”
She continued, “You can enroll in our courses and acquire a certificate in human resource management. Similarly, if you’re interested in marketing, we offer a certificate in social media management. Perhaps you’d like to master the intricacies of technology, understand Excel spreadsheets, or utilize computer programs that currently mystify you – we can guide you through it all, from QuickBooks to Excel and beyond. Our goal is to empower you with the knowledge and skills you need.”
The center offers an extensive range of continuing education courses, with the selection tailored to meet the demands of the community. Currently, the center is in the process of expanding its offerings. Additional staff members have been hired to assess the needs of the community more effectively, ensuring that the courses provided are highly relevant and in demand. Veronica emphasizes that the center will focus on offering courses that are immediately needed while keeping others in reserve for future requirements.
“Continuing education is essential, regardless of the industry you work in. Many professions require a specific number of annual continuing education hours, and we’re here to assist with that,” Veronica highlighted.
Ron Garza, who oversees the center, recently hired Blanca Davila a new leader to head the department.
Davila’s hire reflects the center’s commitment to providing top-notch leadership. Additionally, the center has expanded its team by bringing in program managers and outreach managers to enhance its impact.
The center was previously located in McAllen but has since been relocated to Edinburg. This move ensures that it remains accessible and continues to serve as a valuable resource for individuals and organizations seeking to advance their knowledge and skills.
The Professional Education & Workforce Development Center at UTRGV offers opportunities for individuals and organizations in the Rio Grande Valley. Its dedication to continuous learning and skill development empowers the community to thrive in an ever-evolving world. As Veronica said, “Whether you seek to enhance your career prospects, adapt to changing industry requirements, or simply expand your horizons, this center serves as a gateway to the knowledge and expertise needed for success.”