HARLINGEN, Texas – Harlingen Economic Development Corporation’s Workforce Wednesday at the Harlingen Convention Center is proving so popular it is going to be continued every two months.

The event brings together employers looking to hire workers and job-seekers looking to further their career.

“In August we had a small event, with eight employers. But, there was such a big demand that first go round. We had more employers reaching out and so we knew we had to host another one,” explained Selene Guerrero, marking manager with Harlingen EDC. 

The October jobs fair was bigger, attracting 25 employers offering about 1,200 jobs. 

“We are looking forward to holding another one in December on the first Wednesday of the month,” Guerrero said.

Asked how Workforce Wednesday came about, Guerrero said: “A lot of our businesses were reaching out to us during the summer. They needed to fill vacancies. We had multiple employers interested so we decided to reach out to our great friends at Workforce Solutions Cameron and we worked together to put on the event. We thought, let’s put something on, not one of those big ones that attract 50 employers but something smaller and more industry focused.”

Guerrero said it only made sense for HEDC to put on a series of job fairs, especially in light of today’s tight labor market. 

“Our job in economic development and workforce development is to continue strengthening and building our workforce, by connecting employers with our wonderful and skilled employees. And to draw more businesses here, knowing that they have a good, qualified workforce,” she explained.

Guerrero pointed out that Harlingen’s unique geographic location in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley allows the city to reach 1.3 million people in South Texas all within a 45-minute drive.

For the second jobs fair, which was held Oct. 6, HEDC went beyond the manufacturing and automotive sectors. Of the 25 employers, some were in the field of education, others in healthcare, law enforcement, and government.

“(We had) something for everyone: skilled trades, technicians, clerical work, teachers. There is such a demand in every field right now,” Guerrero said.

Asked what HEDC is focused on right now, Guerrero said: “We are always focused on healthcare. Healthcare is big here in Harlingen and throughout the Rio Grande Valley. We have some projects coming up, studies being done on how we can grow our healthcare sector, as well as aerospace. We have ULA here and they employ about 90 people. We are also working with TSTC and UTRGV.”

TSTC is Texas State Technical College, which has its biggest campus in Harlingen. UTRGV is the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, which has its medical school in Harlingen.

“Let’s keep hosting these job fairs. Let’s keep helping our employers. Let’s keep helping our job seekers. Let’s help people get back into the workforce,” Guerrero added.

Raudel Garza, HEDC’s CEO, also spoke about the new series.

“We will continue working with employers that have openings waiting to be filled. Our priority is connecting employers to qualified job seekers – that’s the purpose of Workforce Wednesday.” Garza said. “Harlingen is centrally located and has the ability to attract a larger workforce from the region, thus making us more attractive to employers.”

Garza added: “The Workforce Wednesday jobs fairs are the perfect opportunity to bring together our talented workforce with employers eager to hire. Events like this help to strengthen our economy and support our major employers.”

Editor’s Note: Harlingen EDC plans to host its job fairs every other month, with the next one being on the first Wednesday in December. There are currently openings for employers to sign up and participate for free. If you are an employer and would like to participate in the next job fair, call the Harlingen EDC at 956-216-5081 or Workforce Solutions Cameron at 956-368-5200, ext. 4328.

Harlingen EDC Video Series

Guerrero also announced that Harlingen EDC has started a new video series. The Choose Harlingen video series will cover various topics, such as healthcare in Harlingen, workforce development, education, connectivity, opening a business in Harlingen, and a basic introduction to what the Harlingen EDC does.

The first episode featured Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell, HEDC board members Michael Allex, an architect, and Ricky Leal, a banker, along with Guerrero.

Guerrero said the video series aims to showcase the many ways the EDC works with the Harlingen community at large in order to make it a better place to live, work, play, and do business.

“Our focus in economic development is to improve on the economic stability and quality of life in a community,” Guerrero explained.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story was taken by Ron Whitlock of Ron Whitlock Reports, at an Oct. 6, 2021, jobs fair hosted by Harlingen EDC at the Harlingen Convention Center. The photo shows Jessica Aldape-Tapia of Pittman & Davis, a fresh produce grower, Raudel Garza, CEO of Harlingen Economic Development Corporation, and Selene Guerrero marketing manager of Harlingen Economic Development Corporation.

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