There is no denying that the Port of Brownsville is growing. And with growth comes growing pains. With so many major projects on our doorstep, addressing the challenges of workforce development is a key responsibility.

Right now, nearly 8,000 local workers have jobs because of the port, including local and regional direct, indirect and induced jobs, with about a thousand more picking up or delivering truckloads of goods at the port not directly reflected in that total. While we are proud of those impressive job creation numbers, that’s all about to change.

With the advent of large-scale industrial development soon to be underway at the port, thousands of construction workers will soon be descending upon Brownsville. Finding, trainman and certifying these future employees is a responsibility we take very seriously.

Brownsville Navigation District Chairman John Reed.

To that end, the port, along with Workforce Texas and the Texas Workforce Commission, are leading local universities, colleges, technical schools, workforce development agencies, school districts and employers in identifying the numbers and types of workers needed, training and certification requirements, along with timelines when jobs must be filled. Everyone involved is committed to addressing this challenge, by awarding this crush of new jobs to the Rio Grande Valley’s best-qualified and deserving jobseekers. And trust me, this by itself is a lot of work.

But it is necessary work that must be done if Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley are to participate fully in the opportunity at hand. These jobs will be followed by thousands more of direct, indirect and induced jobs brought about by the impacts of up to three proposed LNG export facilities, the possibility of a steel mill, and other industries attracted by these projects.

This opportunity represents a transformational change making Brownsville a net job creator, resulting in dramatic growth within the community on a scale never before seen. This is what we have been working for, for so long. And that is why the Port of Brownsville is known as the port that works!

Editor’s Note: The above commentary by Brownsville Navigation District Chairman John Reed first appeared in the Port of Brownsville’s new Directory.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows an aerial shot of the Port of Brownsville.