Texas Border Business
PHARR, Texas – The City of Pharr has been awarded a $1 Million grant from Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. to help close the digital divide. Funding from the grant will be used to exclusively create an internship program in collaboration with PSJA ISD to provide students with job skills in programming, information technology, and cybersecurity.
The City of Pharr was once ranked as the least connected city in the nation and is now well on its way to leading the nation as the most connected, having recently earned a Smart City designation and serving as a model to others across the country.
Funds are to be used for connecting homes to the internet as well as for staff positions including an Inventory Control Specialist for the warehouse, 2 Help Desk Specialists on the Customer Service Team, and 2 Broadband Network Specialists on the Fiber team to assist all customers with home support. The grant also authorizes the city to use staff funding for the launch of an internship program which will provide an internship opportunity for 10 PSJA ISD students.
“We are extremely proud to have that partnership and support of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc., and are especially honored to have them join our goal of closing the digital divide in the City of Pharr,” said Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez. M.D. “This funding will provide us the ability to hire and maintain staff and launch a student internship program for our TeamPharr.Net broadband internet service,” he added.
The internship program will provide PSJA ISD students with job skills in customer service to teach them how to support customers as well as provide them with knowledge of the fiberoptic system and how new equipment is installed and activated. Other job skills students will be trained to learn include working at the warehouse to learn how to upgrade and tag all equipment before it gets shipped out to the installers for deploying in a home as well as working with the cybersecurity team to learn how and what tools are used to secure the network.
“Our PSJA ISD students will greatly benefit from this internship and I am happy to see this investment in our young workforce to support technology-based job skills training,” said Mayor Hernandez. “This is an innovative and collaborative approach amongst community partners which will enhance workforce opportunities and provide students with in-demand skills,” he continued.
Pharr leaders are proud to have changed their ranking through the investment in fiber optic broadband infrastructure which supports the city’s TeamPharr.Net internet service. Now, all Pharr residents and the community have access to affordable, fast internet service to support businesses, education, healthcare, and all other industries!
“It is exciting to see all that we have accomplished together through TeamPharr.Net and we are honored to have received this grant to continue our goal of closing the digital divide in Pharr while investing in student internships and expanding our personnel,” stated Mayor Hernandez.