PHARR, Texas – Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez gave a ringing endorsement of fast growing South Texas College at an event at Vanguard Academy on Saturday.

Hernandez said that under the leadership of its new president, Ricardo Solis, STC is moving at “warp speed.” In remarks that also praised Vanguard Academy and its superintendent, Narciso Garcia, Hernandez alluded to new programs the City of Pharr would soon be unveiling with STC.

“You guys are paving the way for all our students, to make sure they have great opportunities. That is what Pharr represents. That is why Pharr is always partnering with great leaders. Make no mistake, the commission is here for one sole reason, we believe in you, Dr. Garcia. We want to partner with you, just like we are going to partner with STC. STC has a new president with new vision and they are moving at warped speed right now,” Hernandez said, from the podium.

“And it is a perfect time for the City of Pharr. We are here and letting you know that we are committed to its (STC’s) full expansion, we are committed to making sure they accelerate their expansion. There are opportunities for all our students in the Rio Grande Valley, especially in the City of Pharr. So, we are committed to you, Dr. Solis. We will absolutely partner with you. We will be accelerating two very prominent programs to help the city of Pharr and its residents.”

Hernandez added: “We’ve known that you (STC) are an exceptional partner and your board is exceptional, just like the Vanguard board is, as well. You guys are always aiming for the stars and you never come up short. That is why we are going to be with you. So, on behalf of the City of Pharr we are proud to be here with you.”

Hernandez gave his remarks at an event commemorating the 20th Anniversary of 9/11.

President Solis also spoke at the 9/11 remembrance event. From the podium he said the last 20 years have brought “ongoing globalization, continuous innovation and relentless competition.” Therefore, he said, STC has to be prepared for risk and use more creativity to respond.

“We have to be continuously prepared for extraordinary times. Which means we have to be willing and ready for continuous change and to adapt. That is what we are going to be known for, the Rio Grande Valley. That is what the City of Pharr has done,” Solis said.

Solis said it is important to develop partnerships and not work in silos. 

“On behalf of the trustees, we are honored to be part of this community and looking forward to empowering and growing, bringing the technologies and most importantly, bringing the skills for the students to obtain the careers they deserve for a better quality of life.”

The Rio Grande Guardian interviewed the STC president after the event and asked if he was able to say more about the new educational programs Mayor Hernandez was alluding to.

“What the mayor was alluding to is, we have had a series of meetings to continue exploring aggressively the possibility of augmenting nursing programs for the long list of students that are trying to matriculate,” Solis said.

“So the mayor and the city have conveyed they want to partner with us to increase that capacity here, in this part of the Valley, in Pharr, in nursing and in other programs.”

Solis said the second area of education STC wants to expand in the Pharr area relates to training law enforcement personnel.

“The other area, beside health, is the regional training center that we have here for the entire Valley, which happens to be in Pharr. That is another area where we have an incredible opportunity. We will grow the entire federal programs of training here at the regional training center that STC has in partnership with the Valley.”

Solis added: “Those are very high-demand, high-wage jobs. The key is we need to leverage, creatively, funding from the region, from the state, and especially the City of Pharr to be able to grow that here in this area. It is a challenge that all of us have throughout the state but especially here in the Valley. And STC, being the largest provider of nurses in the Valley, we want to grow our capacity to provide those opportunities for the students that are waiting to get in. And we will.”

Solis’ confirmation that STC would be growing its nursing programs and its law enforcement training center comes just a couple of weeks after he announced plans at a McAllen Economic Development Corporation board meeting to expand the college’s footprint in the manufacturing and transportation sector.

“We look forward to that as well, adding industry on the west side of Hidalgo County and in Starr County in the area of transportation,” Solis told the Rio Grande Guardian, at the Vanguard Academy event.

“We just have to work cohesively and collaboratively in partnering with the different communities. That is what STC is all about. We are the Valley’s college.”

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