By Roberto Hugo González
South Texas College (STC) President Dr. Ricardo Solis recently participated in an event at the Mission Economic Development Corp, where he emphasized the college’s commitment to providing educational and vocational opportunities in South Texas.
The college, which offers extensive programs and certificates in various fields, including business development, is keen on aligning its educational offerings with industry needs.
During the interview, President Solis highlighted the importance of understanding the dynamic relationship between students and the industry. He pointed out that while students are their customers, the real long-term clients are the industries that eventually employ these students. This perspective shapes how STC approaches education, ensuring that the programs and skills offered are contemporary and relevant to industry demands.
A significant development for STC will establish its new office in Mission, Texas, inside the Center for Education and Economic Development (CEED) building. This new facility is set to house the first apprenticeship center in the Valley, a pioneering effort in the region.
“This innovative approach is not limited to manufacturing and business but extends to health programs, including registered nursing,” he stated.
In response to Texas Border Business query during the ceremony, South Texas College President Dr. Ricardo Solis confirmed plans for STC to establish an office within the Mission CEED building. “Indeed, we’re on track to inaugurate our office, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for either later next month or by the end of November,” Solis said. He emphasized that this new office will notably house the Valley’s first apprenticeship center, introducing a significant and historical concept to South Texas.
Elaborating on the intricacies of establishing apprenticeship programs, Solis noted that they require approvals from the Department of Labor, accreditation agencies, and financial backing from entities like the Workforce Commission. He emphasized the innovative nature of these programs, particularly their provision for students to earn while learning, a model not widely offered in the region before. This approach allows students to gain practical experience and apply their academic knowledge in real-world settings, enhancing their education and career readiness.
Moreover, Solis highlighted the expansion of apprenticeship opportunities beyond traditional fields. “Earlier this summer, we launched our first apprenticeships in the nursing field, particularly for registered nursing. This significant move paves the way for further apprenticeships in various health programs,” he stated. STC plans to offer similar paid apprenticeship positions across other health disciplines, further broadening the scope and impact of their educational offerings.
The decision to open an office in Mission is strategic, bringing STC closer to the community and making educational opportunities more accessible. This move aligns with STC’s goal of community engagement and expanding educational outreach.
President Solis also stressed the importance of partnerships in realizing these educational initiatives. “The involvement of cities, schools, and the private sector is crucial in developing and sustaining these programs.” He expressed confidence in the enthusiasm and synergy generated by these collaborative efforts, foreseeing dynamic opportunities for the students and citizens of South Texas.
South Texas College, established in 1993, has grown significantly. Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, STC offers more than 127 degree and certificate options. It is the only community college in Texas to offer five baccalaureate degrees. With a robust faculty and staff, STC caters to a diverse student population across its multiple campuses and centers, including a virtual campus, reflecting its commitment to accessible and comprehensive education in the region.