Transforming Education: An RGV LEAD and Ford NGL Partnership

On December 4, over a hundred Rio Grande Valley leaders came together at UTPA to develop a regional plan for Ford Next Generation Learning in the Valley. RGV LEAD has entered into a partnership with the Henry Ford Learning Institute for the Ford NGL initiative, and representatives of RGV LEAD and the Ford National Team collaborated with representatives of 14 school districts plus colleges, universities, and business and community leaders at the session. Participants are working to develop and implement a regional master plan that will help prepare the Valley’s next generation of students for a bright future in both college and career.

RGV LEAD’s Board Chair, Naomi Perales (Community Relations Manager, Texas Gas Service Company), Board Vice President Julian Alvarez (President and CEO, Rio Grande Valley Partnership Regional Chamber of Commerce) and Daniel Silva, PCED, Chief Operating Officer, Mission Economic Development Corporation, addressed participants as a group. All three expressed enthusiastic support for the initiative. Perales thanked the participants: “Ford NGL is designed to connect education opportunities with career opportunities in the Valley. This is an exciting opportunity for RGV LEAD, our students, our businesses, and the Valley as a whole!” Alvarez stated he believes business and community leaders must come together to support the work: "Our business community needs to be held accountable for our future workforce...we want to be more involved!" Silva expressed the multiple ways in which Mission EDC is making that commitment—including its work with RGV LEAD in the Mission Career Center Project.

Ford National Coach Rick Delano stated that business/community engagement is key to the Ford NGL initiative: "We are harnessing relevancy by bringing teams together and moving business involvement into high intensity.”

Ricardo Lopez, Mission CISD Superintendentand a member of the RGV LEAD Board, stated he is excited about the work being done: "We are streamlining our plan to engage students in lower educational levels, and we are realigning our vision for our district. Our students will be able to explore different avenues starting as early as 9th grade."

Dr. Norma Salaiz, RGV LEAD Director, thanked the educators and business/community leaders for participating. Participating business and community leaders are working to create an RGV CEO Champions’ group and a network of Industry Councils that will support students who are moving through the pipeline. To learn more, or to become involved, contact RGV LEAD at 956.364.4509.

RGV LEAD - Linking Economic & Academic Development © 2013