On April 11th, the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation (GBIC) hosted a visit to CK Technologies to discuss the growth of jobs in Cameron County. U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela, (D-34), Joe Esparza, Deputy Secretary of State for the State of Texas and Mario Lozoya, GBIC Executive Director were all on hand to get an up close and personal look at the industry being created near the border.
With a backdrop of large and noisy injection molding machines, Joe Esparza, Deputy Secretary of State for the State of Texas stated, "That noise is what's important. That's the sound of progress, innovation, and jobs in the Rio Grande Valley.”
GBIC Executive Director Mario Lozoya, discussed “establishing internships and externships between educational institutions and companies like CK Technologies to help grow the local workforce that industry depends on by steering young people toward a technical trade early on, a program known as P-TECH — Pathways in Technology Early College High School — has been established here.”
Another resource GBIC is pursuing are Jobs and Education for Texas (JET) grants, which provide funding for educational institutions to purchase equipment to develop career and technical courses. “We’ve created an opportunity to share funding from the state to create opportunities for (independent school districts) and local community and technical colleges to buy advanced equipment to do P-TECH in partnership with industries like CK Technologies,” he said.
U.S. Representative, Filemon Vela, who also spoke during Thursday’s event said he’s working with GBIC, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Texas State Technical College and local school districts to move workforce development forward so Valley industrial employers can hire home-grown workers. “I know that we have children that are coming out of high school, and who are not going to go to college, who are very capable of doing these jobs,” Vela said. “We just have to do everything we can to make sure that we connect the dots.”
Christina Keller, Cascade Engineering President and CEO representing the voice of business stated, “The power of collaboration is evident here today. Together we are creating a bright future for the people, the community, the schools and businesses in Brownsville. Cascade Engineering was initially enabled by the Brownsville Development Authority who explained the advantages of locating our business in your community. Brownsville allowed us many opportunities including close proximity to our customers in Mexico, lower and more reliable electricity rates (key for our industry) and lower costs for resin."
This initial partnership has continued, and we are honored to have representatives from the Brownsville community, local educators, GBIC, State and Federal government join us today. We share in a common goal, to train, educate and support the future workforce of Brownsville. To provide jobs for everyone at all skill levels. This is the additive power created by partnerships dedicated to a common goal."
Mario Lozoya, provided a summary of the goals and future plans for GBIC and the Brownsville community. These plans include, construction of an industrial park and manufacturing innovation hub which both the University of Texas and Texas A&M have already committed to conceptual content. He also hopes to bring a Mexican University onboard to make it actually bi-national. "The ultimate goal in workforce development and manufacturing innovation is to make Brownsville and the Valley globally competitive."