EDINBURG, RGV – Internships and Apprenticeships will be the subject under discussion at the Rio Grande Guardian’s next LIVE at Bob’s luncheon.

The event takes place at Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets cost $25.

The two guests that will speak about Internships and Apprenticeships are Maria Leonard, internship coordinator for the UT-Rio Grande Valley Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship, and Carlos Margo, associate dean of industry training and economic development at South Texas College.

The luncheon conversation is titled “Growing Apprenticeship and Internship Programs in the RGV.”

Click here to read a story about the work Leonard is doing at UTRGV.

Click here to read a story about the work Margo is doing at STC.

Internships and Apprenticeships are viewed as crucial in developing a skilled workforce for the Rio Grande Valley.

At UTRGV, Leonard is growing her college’s internship program.

“We (UTRGV) go out and meet with employers, tell them about our students and talk to them about our internship as a way for them to recruit. An internship for our University is 150 hours minimum commitment. So, if you’re an employer looking to do a project that nobody in your office has time to do then this would be a great way to get it done,” Leonard said.

“This is a great way for students to get into an industry, try it out and see if this is something that they want to do as a career. It’s a very inexpensive way for the employer to test the talent. We’re finding that all students want is the opportunity. In the last year we’ve spoken to about 70 different companies, we have opened approximately 122 positions and what has happened is that our students are either getting hired full-time after the internship or getting rehired in another internship.”

Maria Leonard

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD has pursued a vigorous internship program over the past three years, encouraging local businesses to take on seniors and juniors for two weeks over the summer.

Apprenticeships have been pushed to the forefront by the Trump Administration. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta gave the keynote speech at the 2nd Annual ApprenticeshipTexas Conference, hosted by the Texas Workforce Commission and held at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk in San Antonio recently. Acosta was present as STC signed on as an official apprenticeship sponsor. He also toured the Construction Careers Academy.

“I want to thank Commissioner Alvarez and the Texas Workforce Commission for the great work that is being done to expand apprenticeships in the Lone Star State,” said Secretary Acosta.

“The jobs of today and tomorrow are dynamic and Americans need opportunities to develop new skills throughout their lives. Lifelong learning goes hand-in-hand with lifelong earning. These efforts are helping Americans of all ages, career stages, and walks of life find paths to a good, safe, family-sustaining job.”

Asked how much interest there is in the Rio Grande Valley for apprenticeships, STC’s Margo said: 

Carlos Margo

“We have been having a lot of interest from our business community for apprenticeships, particularly for youth. Steve Ahlenius of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in getting a lot of business engagement here locally. Edinburg Economic Development Council has also been resourceful in getting us engaged with the business community.

“So, we have a lot of interest in apprenticeship training, particularly the youth component. This apprenticeship conference highlighted our participation as a pioneer in getting these apprenticeship programs started. As a higher education institution, we want to be an apprenticeship sponsors.”

Tickets for the “Growing Apprenticeship and Internship Programs in the RGV” luncheon are $25 per person. This includes a three-course meal. For reservations, call Mae Vela at Bob’s Steak & Chop House. Her number is: (956) 380-2627.