LAREDO, Texas – For the third year in a row, leaders, organizations and community in general gathered to hear about the resources available through the Laredo Community College Economic Development Center.
Information about the center was provided at the 3rd Annual IMPACT Economic Development Forum, held last Thursday afternoon in Laredo.
“The college is taking a different approach, more proactive, working with all the different entities, and more importantly working with the labor force and employers specially,” said Ricardo J. Solis, President of LCC. “We will continue bringing the skills for the entire region of Laredo.”
IMPACT stands for International trade, Manufacturing and Logistics, Petroleum technology, Allied Agencies, Contracting personnel, and Thriving oilfield industry.
LCC offers a 2-year traditional mode, but also has certificates, which at the end of the coursework gives employees the skills they need to hopefully succeed in their companies.
Also, the college has expanded through signing international partnerships with colleges in Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas.
Sponsors and friends make possible the obtaining of funds for full scholarships to people that seek a higher education.
In 2014, as a result of the forum, the Economic Development Center was able to help around 91 students. In 2015 that amount had grown to over 120 students. And this year they have helped 432 students, according to Rodney H. Rodriguez, executive director of economic development and external affairs at LCC.
“We also have two students who successfully completed the U.S. custom broker’s license,” he added.
Rodriguez also spoke about programs to start in 2017, including the Certified Logistics Associate and Certified Logistics Technician, but also a new coding program.
“We are working with our economic development partners in the (Rio Grande) Valley to bring a coding program to Laredo. We will call it ‘CodeLaredo’ because there, it is known as ‘Code Mission’,” Rodriguez said. “This is a very exciting 12-week course coding program, and thanks to the Texas Workforce Commission we will receive funding to support students.”
Texas Workforce Commission Commissioner Ruth R. Hughs was the keynote speaker at the forum. Hughs represents employers and “serves as advocate for nearly 500,000 Texas employers, and her office provides a variety of resources, including training and assistance with workplace concerns,” a document presented by Rodriguez explained.
During her presentation, Hughs explained the benefits TWC can offer. From providing training, to raising awareness of employability of person with disabilities.
“Texas leads the way as the most small-business friendly state in the nation,” Hughs said.
“But, Laredo also leads the way.”
In an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Solis said he considered Laredo’s economy to be all about globalization.
“Our city is at an envy position in the international trade,” Solis said. “Laredo is the epicenter of Texas-México trade. And that is exactly what we are targeting not only global related industry but other latest programs such as the water technology, cyber technology, and the oil and gas fracking specialties.”
Solis considered that since the education is changing drastically, LCC looks forward to give that support to the community in general.
During the IMPACT Forum, five organizations were recognized for they impact in the local economic development. Those were:
● Honorary IMPACT Award: IBC Bank/Commerce Bank
● Commerce and Business Development: Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association
● International Trade: Association of Laredo Forwarding Agents, Inc.
● Workforce Development: Workforce Solutions for South Texas
● Economic and Industrial Development: Fasken Oil and Ranch.