AudioTapia: How RSTEF can help grow postsecondary and workforce education in South Texas

An exclusive interview with the new grant manager for the Council for South Texas Economic Progress.

SAN BENITO, Texas – The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service recently secured an exclusive interview with Rafael Tapia, the new grant manager for the Council for South Texas Economic Progress, otherwise known as COSTEP.

For many years Tapia was executive director of Alamo Economic Development Corporation.

In his new role Tapia is responsible for overseeing grants and managing the grant programs for the Rio-South Texas Education & Community Development Foundation (RSTEF), a nonprofit private foundation focused on postsecondary and workforce development educational programs in Rio South Texas.

In his interview with the Guardian, Tapia explained that RSTEF is part of COSTEP.

“COSTEP actually is a has two different organizations. Obviously, there is COSTEP itself, which is trying to do the economic development. But, they also manage a foundation, which has been around about the same amount of time and just started to provide post-secondary education and workforce development grants to institutions of higher education, as well as organizations that are 501c3 and promote our focus, which, again, is certificates, GED and certification, anything that has to do with apprenticeships, internships, post-secondary degrees. That’s more where my work is.”

Here is the audio interview:

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Tapia joined COSTEP/RSTEF in June 2023. 

Here is what Adam Gonzalez, COSTEP’s CEO, said at the time:

“We are delighted to welcome Rafael Tapia as our Grant Manager. His expertise in grant management and passion for educational advancement make him the ideal candidate for this role. We are confident that his leadership will strengthen our partnership with RSTEF and contribute to the growth and development of postsecondary and workforce education in Rio South Texas.”

Tapia said this about his move:

“I am honored to join COSTEP as the Grant Manager and work closely with RSTEF to support educational programs in Rio South Texas. By leveraging grants effectively, we have the opportunity to empower individuals, enhance workforce readiness, and foster economic growth in the region. I look forward to collaborating with our partners to maximize the impact of RSTEF’s grant programs.”


From the COSTEP website: The Council for South Texas Economic Progress is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing economic growth and prosperity in the Rio South Texas region. COSTEP collaborates with stakeholders to develop and implement strategic initiatives that attract investments, foster job creation, and enhance the quality of life for residents. By driving economic development, COSTEP aims to position Rio South Texas as a premier destination for businesses, residents, and visitors. For more information, visit

Editor’s Note: The above news story is the first in a two-part series on Council for South Texas Economic Progress. Part Two, featuring the analysis of CEO Adam Gonzalez, will be published in an upcoming edition.

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