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Rodney H. Rodriguez

LAREDO, Texas – Many people in the Laredo area are not able to obtain a professional training because of financial issues, experts say.

Looking to lend a hand, Laredo Community College (LCC) will present the 3rd IMPACT Economic Development Forum in December.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Dec 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the International Bank of Commerce Annex Ballroom, 2418 Jacaman Road, in Laredo.

LCC will grant scholarships for those who are pursuing a Certification in Custom Specialist or a Certification in Export Specialist in the area.

“Proceeds go to our scholarship program and economic development initiatives that we have at the college,” said Rodney H. Rodriguez, economic development center director, after a news conference held at LCC. “Right now we have 40 students in our logistics and distribution management program.”

This program has a cost of around $10,000, but it’s free to the community thanks for the support of sponsors and those who attend the Forum every year.

Since 2014 to date, LCC has delivered 359 Certified Custom Specialist Certificates of Completion, and 58 Certified Export Specialist Certificates of Completion.

“I think we are the most excited for the opportunities we are going to bring our students and the citizens of Laredo in the areas of transportation, import/export, and logistics,” Rodriguez added.

“This event allows us the opportunity to be able to fund those programs at no cost to them, because maybe they are not be able to attend or enroll because of the financial barriers they might have.”

The keynote speaker during the forum will be Texas Workforce Commission member Ruth R. Hughs, who represents employers on the commission.

Hughs, who was appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in 2015, serves as an advocate for nearly 500,000 Texas employers, according to a press release from LCC.

Also, five local business or civic organizations will receive the 2016 IMPACT Awards for their outstanding service and impact in their community.

●    The Honorary Impact Award will go to International Bank of Commerce/Commerce Bank;
●    Commerce and Business Development Award will go to Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association;
●    Economic and Industrial Development Award will go to Fasken Oil and Ranch, Ltd.;
●    International Trade Award will go to Association of Laredo Forwarding Agents, Inc; and,
●    Workforce Development Award will go to Workforce Solutions for South Texas.

“We are truly honor to receive this award, because is a recognition of all the effort that we have been doing in the region,” said Rogelio Treviño, executive director of Workforce Solutions of South Texas.

“This is an organization that makes an impact in the workforce and economic development (and) we work very closely with education institutions to prepare our labor force and to prepare them to meet the skills requested by the employers.”

Workforce Solutions has been around for 30 years. In the South Texas office in Laredo they receive almost 5.000 people a month, Treviño says.

Lucy Mejía, president of the Association of Laredo Forwarding Agents said that through the 19 years of ALFA, they have been working along with City of Laredo and many local community organization to combine efforts.

“We share our efforts to work for a most successful region, one that is ready to compete,” Mejía said. “We want our people to be prepared, and LCC helps us to accomplish that.”

For more information regarding the IMPACT Economic Development Forum, visit laredo.edu/edc