WESLACO, RGV – South Texas College’s associate dean of industrial training and economic development says his institution is moving closer to becoming international in nature.

Dr. Carlos Margo spoke about the academic education and workforce training STC is doing in Mexico at a luncheon in Weslaco on Tuesday.

“On the academic side we have signed about three agreements but they are mostly ceremonial and we are working out the complexities of the actual credit to be received if the educational work was to be done in Mexico,” Margo said.

“We are talking about agreements that would allow STC to go into Mexico to provide academic instruction or workforce training.”

Dr. Carlos Margo gives a presentation at Arturo’s Restaurant in Weslaco, Texas, on Jan. 29, 2019.

The luncheon Margo spoke at focused on economic development and workforce training in the Rio Grande Valley and was held at Arturo’s.

With regard to customized workforce training in Mexico, STC is making progress, Margo reported.

“We are almost there on the workforce training customized training side. This would open the door for South Texas College to go and do training in Mexico for a lot of the maquilas. All the training we have to offer would be available to the maquiladoras industry in Mexico,” Margo said.

“That is a first step and we are working out the dynamics of going international, that is essentially what it means.”

Margo reiterated that STC has strong relationships with at least three institutions in Mexico, through formal partnership agreements. 

“Instruction has taken place but it has only been online at this point. But, we are getting there and our goal is to become international. It is really just a border that divides us. If they benefit in Mexico, we benefit here, economically. It is a proven fact.”

Margo made his comments just a couple of days after STC and Universidad Tamaulipeca have signed a general collaboration agreement. The agreement, formalized by STC President Shirley A. Reed and Universidad Tamaulipeca President Dr. Oscar W. Aguilar Rodriguez, was three years in the making.

Reed said the general collaboration agreement would create tools for training through the use of a unique bi-national partnership. She said each institution has agreed to begin working together on projects related to research, conferences and new educational opportunities.  

“They have associate degrees, technical degrees, they offer nursing and allied health programs, and are very interested in a language institute,” Reed said. “In the MOU, we also agreed to work together and sponsor binational conferences so their faculty and students can participate. It is so important for the region that we have these relationships.”

Reed added: “It’s important for the economic development of the region because we have quality programs that we can share with them and they have outstanding faculty with unique expertise they can share with us. We can work together, we can benefit, and we can learn from each other.”  

Aguilar pointed out that Universidad Tamaulipeca comprises three campuses in Reynosa, Rio Bravo and Matamoros. He said his higher education institution is dedicated to the training of professionals to develop the skills required to meet the challenges of international globalization, encouraging innovative capacity and competitiveness, generating commitment to continuous improvement and consolidating leading professionals, entrepreneurs, and modifiers of organizations in Mexico.

“This is an agreement that will allow us to establish an exchange of ideas between our students,” Aguilar said. “Looking at the future after this event, I think the most important thing is focusing on student preparation and eventually establishing a dual process between our two institutions.”   

Dr. Mario Reyna, STC’s dean of business, public safety and technology, has long wanted to see his institution develop strong ties and strategic partnerships with colleges and universities in Mexico. Reyna said both STC and Universidad Tamaulipeca have sufficient capacity to promote plans and programs that lead to an improvement of higher education in both countries. He noted that activities will include student exchange, faculty exchange, video conference, and distance lectures.

“They (the Universidad Tamaulipeca leadership) are here because they are interested in working with us to include the quality of education they deliver to their students in Reynosa, Rio Bravo and Matamoros,” Reyna said. “We have been talking to them for about three years now and most of their degrees are very similar to the things we do, and that’s one of the reasons we are very interested.”

Reyna added: “We want to work with them because if we can get their students and even our students to graduate with two degrees, that will make them more valuable to industry in Reynosa and McAllen.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows Dr. Shirley A. Reed, president of South Texas College, and Universidad Tamaulipeca President Dr. Oscar W. Aguilar.