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South Texas College’s Bold Approach to Tackling Poverty

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Dr. Ricardo Solis, President of South Texas College, pioneers bold and innovative educational initiatives to combat poverty, setting the stage for a thriving future for Hidalgo County and the broader Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Solis was one of the main keynote speakers during the FUTURO RGV “Building a Thriving RGV/The Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force Forum”. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
Dr. Ricardo Solis, President of South Texas College, pioneers bold and innovative educational initiatives to combat poverty, setting the stage for a thriving future for Hidalgo County and the broader Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Solis was one of the main keynote speakers during the FUTURO RGV “Building a Thriving RGV/The Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force Forum”. Photo by Roberto Hugo González

Texas Border Business

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By Roberto Hugo González

South Texas College, led by its president Dr. Ricardo Solis, is taking on a grand mission to combat poverty in the region, employing an arsenal of innovative educational initiatives. A recent summit attended by economic developers, chamber of commerce representatives, civic leaders, higher education advocates, and elected officials underscored the collective commitment to addressing the rampant poverty in Hidalgo County and the broader Rio Grande Valley.

During the event held at South Texas College Ballroom, Building U, McAllen, South Texas leaders gathered to speak at the Futuro RGV: “Building a Thriving RGV/The Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force Forum”. The keynote speakers, each a leader in fields such as media, economic development, emerging technology, and higher education, contributed their expertise to the proceedings.

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Dr. Solis shared the initiatives being undertaken by South Texas College to break the cycle of poverty. He emphasized the fundamental role of education in the response, particularly in providing the essential skills needed by many adults and students to re-enter the workforce. The strategic approach is already being put into action, with the focus on reaching out to different regions in the Valley.

The college, well-regarded for its progressive initiatives, is also developing a series of short-term training programs and certifications designed to equip learners with the necessary skills to meet industry demands. The primary goal, as Dr. Solis shared, is to cater to the needs of the local industries – their “clients” – by developing and delivering relevant certifications for their future employees – the “customers” of South Texas College.

“We’re always at the cutting edge,” Dr. Solis said, signifying the institution’s determination to provide proactive solutions to the challenges their region faces. “And that is what we are differentiating ourselves that South Texas College is providing, developing, and providing and delivering these types of certifications that are necessary today to the customers of South Texas.”

The significance of the summit was not lost on Dr. Solis. While he acknowledged that the collaboration marks a “great start,” he also highlighted that much work lies ahead. Among the forthcoming projects is a strategy to secure the RECOMPETE grant, an initiative undertaken with other institutions in the Valley. If successful, the grant will provide the resources necessary to further materialize their vision.

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The recent summit: “Building a Thriving RGV/The Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force Forum”, Dr. Solis noted, is but the beginning of an extensive process aimed at uplifting their communities through education. With sleeves already rolled up, South Texas College is steadfast in its pursuit of solutions to address poverty and continue to be at the vanguard of educational innovation in the Valley.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortéz spearheads the Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force, an initiative crafted in February 2020 to uplift the region through strategic collaboration and problem-solving.

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