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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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South Texas Leaders Assemble to Address Economic Prosperity and Community Development

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Dr. Ricardo Solis, visionary leader and President of South Texas College, firmly guiding the institution's mission to transform economic hardship into opportunity through education, integrity, and resilience. Photo by Roberto González
Dr. Ricardo Solis, visionary leader and President of South Texas College, firmly guiding the institution’s mission to transform economic hardship into opportunity through education, integrity, and resilience. Photo by Roberto González

Texas Border Business

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By Roberto Hugo González

In an unprecedented event held in the 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.

Dr. Nedra Kinerk. Image Roberto Hugo González

Futuro RGV arranged the conference in collaboration with partners South Texas College, Rio Grande Valley Partnership, and Atlas, Hall & Rodríguez. It aimed to present a comprehensive vision for community prosperity in Hidalgo County. Dr. Nedra Kinerk, President of Futuro RGV, emphasized the strength in unity and sharing resources and information among the communities in the county.

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Founded in 1999 as an advocacy citizen group addressing quality-of-life issues in McAllen, Futuro RGV has grown into a distinguished public affairs organization that disseminates information and addresses pressing issues in South Texas. As per Dr. Kinerk, the group’s mission is to “foster collaboration, share knowledge, and promote innovative solutions that contribute to the economic prosperity and overall well-being of Hidalgo County.”

A crucial aspect of this initiative is the Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force, a conglomerate of 13 subgroups committed to various aspects of community development, from social services to job training and the creation of higher-paying jobs in Hidalgo County. The task force is a targeted response to the complex issue of poverty, aiming to create a compassionate environment where the community supports each other.

During the event, McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos expressed his excitement and gratitude for the collective efforts of cities, schools, counties, and colleges working together for the betterment of the community. He stressed the significance of collaboration in various sectors, from housing and healthcare to jobs and economic development. He emphasized the importance of seizing the unique opportunities present in the current times for regional growth.

Dr. Ricardo Solis, president of South Texas College, welcomed the participants and outlined the college’s commitment to addressing post-pandemic economic challenges. He highlighted the college’s role in fostering economic growth and providing the necessary skills to combat poverty. Dr. Solis elaborated, “Indeed, addressing the unique challenges posed by poverty here in the valley is essential. However, we must also turn our look toward the future. Here at South Texas College, we persistently approach every challenge with enthusiasm because we believe in shaping our destiny. If things don’t happen, we make them happen. That’s what everyone present here today is determined to do.

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Above all, I want to thank everyone because, collectively, we are poised to accomplish our shared goals. This will necessitate adherence to what I term the ‘three R’s’. Firstly, we must remain Resolute. Secondly, we must always do the right thing. Lastly, and most critically, we must recognize and address the unique needs of our community, which will require us to take Risks.

Today, we are stepping outside conventional boundaries and embracing risk in pursuit of new opportunities. Our focus is on the students and the broader community of the valley. We are confident that we can effectively address these needs in collaboration with higher institutions from UTRGV to Texas A&M and, naturally, South Texas College.”

Mario Reyna. Image by Roberto Hugo González

Mario Reyna, a member of the Prosperity Task Force, highlighted the mission of the task force – creating more human capital by fostering a better-trained workforce and attracting industries that provide better-paying jobs. He also touched upon the task force’s commitment to helping those in need, addressing issues like food insecurity, housing, transportation, and medical services.

In conclusion, the forum showcased the strength of unity and collaboration in addressing pressing community issues. The Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force, backed by the collective efforts of local leaders and the community, is on the right track toward fostering economic prosperity and improving the overall quality of life in Hidalgo County.

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