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Region One ESC unites education, workforce stakeholders to create Tri-Agency Regional Convener

The Region One Education Service Center (ESC) gathered a group of advisory members leading education and the workforce on Sept. 8, 2023 at the Region One ESC Conference Center to mark the launch of the Tri-Agency Regional Convener, a collaborative initiative designed to create seamless systems that will prepare students for advancement and success in various careers. 

The Tri-Agency, established by Governor Greg Abbott in 2016, joins the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to support the spur of economic growth across the state. 

In April 2023, Region One ESC was designated the Tri-Agency Regional Convener serving the Lower Rio Workforce Development Area (WDA) 23, which includes Starr, Hidalgo and Willacy counties. Region One ESC was one of 17 WDAs recognized as a Regional Convener. 

As the Regional Convener, Region One ESC will oversee the development, implementation and monitoring of the regional strategy for high quality career and education pathways into targeted industries across the entire workforce development areas. 

Region One ESC Director for Partnerships and Career Pathways Dr. Eliza Alvarado said the group will work to identify needs and create industry-aligned pathways for the region and its communities. 

“As a board, we will work to fill gaps around the region and analyze our assets to maximize student and industry prosperity,” Dr. Alvarado said. “We are really excited to get the work started and, ultimately, create a strategic plan that we can implement.”

The launch also officially designated the Regional Convener’s Pathways Leadership Advisory Board, comprised of higher education leaders, school district administrators and industry and community partners. 

Workforce Solutions CEO Francisco Almaraz was among several of the advisory members who pledged to oversee career pathways and develop a plan for success across the education and workforce sectors. 

“The Regional Convener is bringing together organizations that will collaborate to create sustainable economic development,” Almaraz said. “As we develop our strategic plan, we’ll get input from each organization to ensure we are all working in the same direction.”  

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Senior Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations Veronica Gonzales said that it is great to work with education and workforce regional leadership.

“If we work regionally and get all of our partners at the table, we’ll have much more success,” Gonzales said. 

For the next two years, the Board will meet quarterly to draft a Regional Strategic Plan, support the development of a Regional Pathway System, create work-based learning opportunities and establish data infrastructure and communication.