MCALLEN, Texas – The new president of South Texas College says he will be unveiling some “great projects” in the near future, primarily in the automotive and transportation sectors.

Ricardo Solis spoke at a recent McAllen Economic Development Corporation board meeting. He said he is excited to be working with MEDC to improve workforce training. He said his big focus right now is developing higher education programs in the health and technology arenas.

“It is a pleasure to be here. I look forward to being part of these economic efforts for the McAllen region,” Solis said, pointing out that he has known MEDC President and CEO Keith Patridge for man years.

“Keith Patridge and I go way back. Practically, about 30 years when I was doing economic development back in the lower Valley. And then I transitioned into the private sector, and then went into higher education,” Solis said.

Solis, pictured above, previously served as president of Laredo Community College. While there, Solis and Patridge worked together to develop the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research & Education Initiative (NAAMREI), which covered the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo.

“We truly believe that higher education is the key for communities to thrive. It is a pleasure to be part of it. There is no other place that I would rather be than in this part of the Valley and especially working with the MEDC for our workforce efforts,” Solis told the MEDC board of directors.

Transforming education


Solis said a lot of changes are happening at South Texas College.

“At STC we are going to continue transforming education, primarily focusing on health and technology programs. We are very excited. We have some great projects we are going to be announcing very soon, primarily in the automotive and transportation areas,” Solis said.

“But also, at the same time, the health, we are going to expanding even more programs, and expanding the capacity because we know there is huge demand, especially for the nursing areas. So, very excited that we are going to be engaging in these areas.”

Solis said it is important that STC listens and responds to the needs of industry.

“We are going to be focusing on what industry demands, and that is we are going to be focusing on more accelerated programs when it comes to diplomas and short term certificates. That is what a lot of the adults are looking forward to, up-skilling and re-skilling.”

So, expect some big announcements soon, the college president said.

“Soon we will be making more announcements. But, more importunately, we are going to be working closely with MEDC when it comes to re-engaging in our efforts with the global business, Reynosa maquiladoras especially. We are looking forward to that as well.”

Solis added: “So, at STC we are going to be very flexible and, of course, we are going to be innovative, creative and most importantly, responsive to the needs of the region. So, we look forward to being part of this.”

David Plummer, STC’s vice president for information services, planning, performance, and strategic initiatives, also spoke at the MED board meeting.

Plummer said STC was starting the new school year with online courses for the first couple of weeks, in order to respond to the Covid-19 delta variant. But, he acknowledged, students are tired of online. “They really want face-to-face. Face-to-face sessions are full,” Plummer said.

Plummer announced STC was in talks with Texas A&M University to potentially do cross training with the university’s engineering students. He said this endeavor was one of a number of exciting partnerships.

Plummer said STC also stood ready to respond to MEDC’s request to expand training courses for maquiladora workers in Reynosa. He said these courses could be made available on both sides of the border.

Plummer added that STC was also in talks with an as yet unnamed “large state corporation” that wants a workforce training program developed.

Editor’s Note: The attached podcasts features the remarks of Dr. Solis and Dr. Plummer at the McAllen EDC board meeting. It also features an interview the Rio Grande Guardian secured with Dr. Solis at a recent McAllen Chamber of Commerce breakfast event where the keynote speaker was Harrison Keller, the Texas higher education commissioner. 


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