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Alex Garrido teaches a social media class for UT-Pan American at the UTPA McAllen Teaching Site.

McALLEN, RGV – The University of Texas-Pan American has begun a series of social media workshops designed to help business owners improve their digital marketing strategies.

UTPA’s Office of Continuing Education conducted its first Lunch and Learn social media workshop of 2015 in June, and plans to hold more in July. The program is designed as non-credit professional development courses with a focus on helping attendees understand what it takes to reach out to the digital market, according to workshop organizers.

Alex Garrido
Alex Garrido

UTPA OCE will host workshops over the course of the summer until September. At that time OCE will begin a full-fledged certificate program in digital marketing. That will go much further and in-depth, covering all aspects of the subject, including how to create content and how to build an audience. It will conclude with attendees creating a strategic plan that they can implement within their own companies.

“The whole marketing environment is changing. How businesses reach out to their customers is changing, and with the advent of smart phones these days, everyone is basically glued to their phone, and marketers are beginning to realize that the best way to reach customers is through digital marketing,” said UTPA Continuing Education Director Jayshree Bhat.

“In the process of helping the community, educating them and helping them understand what it takes to reach out to the digital market, we wanted to roll out these lunch and learn workshops so they can begin to get a basic understanding of how it works, and then hopefully go back and try it in their companies and come back for more,” Bhat said.

The mission of UTPA’s Office of Continuing Education is to facilitate life-long learning by extending the academic resources of the University through high-quality, non-credit education services, according to the department’s website.

The office is a component of the Division of Academic Affairs, and provides individuals the opportunity to enroll in courses for professional development, continuing education, test preparation and personal enrichment.

Attendees to the workshops do not need to be enrolled at the university to apply. Through the department’s website, www.utpa/ce, OCE extends its programs to the community, and streamlines the registration process. Applicants go the course that interests them, click on the course link and description; and if they decide to attend are able to register and pay online for the course.

“I think that the work that UTPA Continuing Education is doing is fantastic because they are trying to provide all these tools and resources not only for small businesses, but for everybody in the community,” said Alex Garrido, an instructor and presenter with UTPA OCE. Garrido will also be UT-Rio Grande Valley’s digital marketing manager when the university opens its doors for the first time in the fall.

“Traditional media and other forms of marketing in general are dying down and they are opening up this huge opportunity to just dominate the market,” Garrido said. “Using digital marketing. I think UTPA CE is doing a great job trying to recruit some of the talent here in the Valley because we have all the instructors as well that are coming and bringing their expertise. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity.”

Editor’s Note: In the interests of full disclosure, readers should be aware that Alex Garrido and his company, Red Ant Digital, created the Rio Grande Guardian’s new website and help to market it through social media. UTPA Continuing Education Director Jayshree Bhat is pictured in the main photo accompanying this story.