loader image
- Advertisement -

Monday, May 27, 2024
84 F
McAllen
- Advertisement -

Combating Poverty with New Partnership

Translate text to Spanish or other 102 languages!

- Advertisement -
South Texas College President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D. and Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in a partnership that will create a Youth Leadership Academy with the goal of decreasing poverty in the region. STC Image
South Texas College President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D. and Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in a partnership that will create a Youth Leadership Academy with the goal of decreasing poverty in the region. STC Image

Texas Border Business

- Advertisement -

By Amanda Sotelo

South Texas College President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D. and Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in a partnership that will create a Youth Leadership Academy with the goal of decreasing poverty in the region.

This collaboration closely follows an STC Board of Trustees’ unanimous decision that the college and its leadership would be working closely with the Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force, led by Judge Cortez to curb the increasing numbers of poverty, hunger and homelessness affecting the Rio Grande Valley.

- Advertisement -

“Judge Cortez has said the poverty rate in the Rio Grande Valley is higher than our state average, meaning that many of the students we serve fall within these numbers, and it is our responsibility and due diligence to help alleviate this issue,” said Solis. “And this partnership is one more way that STC is helping to fight poverty.”

Cortez reports a poverty rate of 29.7% in Hidalgo County, well above the state average of 13.7% and the country’s average of 12%, and with funding provided by a federal AmeriCorps grant, STC and Hidalgo County can now work together to research and create curriculum that will form a Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program at the college.

The VISTA program will target local youth in the form of a Youth Leadership Academy and help train future generations of policymakers about the complexities of poverty and how to mitigate its effects locally.

Cortez said it is these alarming numbers that prompted the creation of the Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force, which then initiated the request for the AmeriCorps federal grant.

- Advertisement -

The prosperity task force is working on short-term and long-term goals to decrease poverty in the region.

“My administration has made alleviating poverty a top priority since I came into office in 2019,” he said. “STC has been steadfast in its support of our efforts. This latest partnership creates a unique opportunity to tap into the educational expertise of STC and gives us the opportunity to recruit STC students to participate in the VISTA program. STC is a natural alignment for this project.”

Cortez added that STC has been playing an integral role in encouraging economic development by showcasing the potential of Hidalgo County.

Solis said, in addition to STC’s involvement with the Prosperity Task Force, the college is also combatting poverty and hunger with its student food pantries, located from Mid-Valley to Starr County and its STC Threads closet, which provides free professional and casual clothing to students in need.

“Our goal at STC is to make education and training accessible, to attract more business to our region and create more jobs with a wage high enough to lift a person out of poverty, but if students are worrying about their next meal or how to support their families, then their sole focus isn’t on class,” he said. “So, we must be bold and innovative to tackle this disparity, and this partnership is just that. We have a young and vibrant workforce, so we’re excited to see this grow.”

The project initiation is set to begin in the coming months.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -