McALLEN, RGV – McAllen Economic Development Corporation vice president Ralph Garcia wants Rio Grande Valley residents to know that a South Texas College satellite campus in Reynosa has not been developed with taxpayer dollars.

The campus will officially open on Friday, March 24 at the Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores’ Vista Hermosa Campus, located at Avenida del Parque 1000 in Reynosa. Tamaulipas Governor Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca will officially open the building.

McAllen EDC Vice President Ralph Garcia

“I want to make it clear this is a new funding mechanism for the college. It is not coming out of any taxpayer money,” Garcia told the McAllen EDC board of directors.

“A lot of companies in Reynosa are doing training but they are doing it in other parts of Mexico. They are sending people to Guadalajara and Mexico City for training. Why send them there when we can handle them here?”

Garcia said that a few years ago, STC thought about providing workforce training for Reynosa’s maquiladora industry in the Valley.

“The challenge was getting them across the border. To do that we would have to get education visas for individuals. Rather than do that, the college is building a satellite campus on the Mexican side that will benefit industry on that side of the border that is looking for that type of support.”

Garcia and McAllen EDC President Keith Patridge invited MEDC board members to visit Reynosa for the official opening of the new STC facility.

Carlos Margo, associate dean of industry training and economic development at South Texas College, made a similar point to Garcia’s in an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian last December.

“We are going to use the Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores facilities to provide workforce training, customized training, for maquiladoras and other industry partners in Reynosa. This will be a totally separate endeavor from STC proper. We will be using private funds, coming from the maquila industry, to fund this project. It will not be funded with taxpayer dollars.”

Asked if the new campus would need accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Garcia said: “We do not need any accreditation because we are going to be doing workforce training only, continuing education only. It is non-academic and non-credit.

Keith Patridge, president of McAllen Economic Development Corporation, Mario Reyna, dean of business and technology at South Texas College, Carlos Margo, associate dean of industry training and economic development at South Texas College, and Rosendo Martínez Gómez, rector of the Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores in Reynosa. (Photo: Somos Tamaulipas)

STC and IIES entered into a memorandum of understanding in February, 2014. The MOU commits both institutions to “support joint projects, cultural and academic exchanges, exchange of information, experts, instructional materials and other elements considered necessary to reinforce one another’s respective educational capabilities.”

STC Dean of Business and Technology Mario Reyna said at the time: “We’re working with international institutions to continue the development of activities of the work force that contribute to a better quality of life for the people in this region, on both sides of the border.”

IIES President Rosendo Martínez said at the time: “STC and the IIES have found in one another the same level of commitment to our communities. We’re thinking about the impact each institution can have on our students if we work together.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this story shows South Texas College President Shirley A. Reed and Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores President Rosendo Martínez at a memorandum of understanding signing at STC in February, 2014.