GBIC is well positioned to serve as a catalyst and convener for regional workforce and talent initiatives. It has the ability to bring regional stakeholders together and apply resources where needed. As Brownsville’s lead economic development organization, GBIC plays a critical role in efforts to align regional workforce training providers and educational institutions to respond to the needs of the private sector.
Communities that can successfully develop, attract, and retain talented workers possess a huge advantage in today’s economy. According to Area Development’s “Annual Survey of Corporate Executives”, access to a skilled workforce consistently ranks at or near the top of the list of site selection factors for business expansion and relocation projects. Employers in Brownsville and throughout the Rio Grande Valley rely on thousands of skilled workers to fill their current and future labor needs. The region’s labor requirements include new job creation and replacements in response to retirements and out-migration. Some of the new workers required by Brownsville employers will be supplied by talent moving into the community, but most jobs will be filled by local workers. Ensuring a steady pipeline of workers is critical for Brownsville’s future growth.
Brownsville’s economic success depends on attracting industry by providing a relevant workforce that is ready to meet the current and future industry demands. For the ‘We Grow Our Own!’ plan to succeed, partners must agree on, and commit to implement a plan that includes measurable outcomes. Implementation of the plan will result in the creation of a prepared workforce equipped to help move Brownsville’s economic needle forward.
One of the most important aspects of the “We Grow Our Own” initiative is addressing the digital divide.
Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) is an open-enrollment program that provides students with work-based education. P-TECH programs:
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will collaborate with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to develop and implement a plan for the P-TECH program that addresses:
Partners for Postsecondary Success (PPS) is an initiative building community partnerships with the goal of doubling the number of young adults with postsecondary credentials leading to living wage employment.
The PPS initiative was created with the guidance of MDC, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina that helps communities across the nation close the gaps in education and guidance separating young people from opportunity.
PPS was launched in 2011 with a $100,000 one-year planning grant and a $1.5 million implementation grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as $240,000 in funding from local individuals, businesses and foundation.
GBIC is supporting a bill in the Legislature that would modernize Career and Technical Education ISD programs in support of industry needs, and intends to create a Valley chapter of the Texas Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (TX FAME), an alliance of companies promoting workforce development.