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Featured, from left: Dr. Jonikka Charlton, Assistant Vice President for Student Academic Success, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Zaena Zamora, Mathematics Lecturer, UTRGV; and Justin González, Tutor, Learning Center Jumpstart, help help high school students prepare for college through the UTRGV JumpStart program, a five-week summer curriculum meant to help students overcome scholastic challenges. The Mayor, Edinburg City Council and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation lobbies the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents for advances that help UTRGV and its School of Medicine in Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

Representatives for as many as 30 major employers will gather at the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, located at 1906 S. Closner Boulevard, from 8 am. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2016 for a job fair, which is free and open to the public, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The event, coordinated by the Edinburg EDC, Workforce Solutions, the City of Edinburg, and the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, is part of a partnership between those entities to match qualified persons for jobs being offered in the city, said Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “Our job fairs are designed to make it easier and more convenient for employers and prospective employees to get together,” said Reyes. “They are for every kind of person, from people who want to get a job for the first time, to individuals who are already employed, but are looking for a better job or a different career.” People looking for employment will be able to learn about the job vacancies from the employers, leave their résumés, and in some cases, employers will conduct a job interview immediately, she added. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related. More information is available by contacting Reyes with the Edinburg EDC at 956/383-7124 or José Tamez, Assistant Director, Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, at 956/383-6246.

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Job Fair on Thursday in Edinburg, to be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sekula Memorial Library, to feature as many as 30 area major employers

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Representatives for as many as 30 major employers will gather at the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, located at 1906 S. Closner Boulevard, from 8 am. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2016 for a job fair, which is free and open to the public, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The event, coordinated by the Edinburg EDC, Workforce Solutions, the City of Edinburg, and the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, is part of a partnership between those entities to match qualified persons for jobs being offered in the city, said Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related.

“Our job fairs are designed to make it easier and more convenient for employers and prospective employees to get together,” said Reyes. “They are for every kind of person, from people who want to get a job for the first time, to individuals who are already employed, but are looking for a better job or a different career.”

People looking for employment will be able to learn about the job vacancies from the employers, leave their résumés, and in some cases, employers will conduct a job interview immediately, she added.

Agustín García, Jr., Edinburg EDC’s Executive Director, said as the city’s economy continues to grow and prosper, more opportunities are available to residents to become part of the Edinburg workforce.

“We have so much positive economic activities going on in Edinburg, such as record-breaking levels of home and business construction for our community, one of South Texas’ lowest unemployment rates, one of the best education and health profession systems in Texas, and more,” García said. “But behind these success stories is the high-quality of the people of Edinburg. Our people have what it takes to continue to help Edinburg succeed.”

The Job Fair at the library will be held in the Friends Meeting Room, said José Tamez, Assistant Director, Sekula Memorial Library.

“As our leader, Library Director Leticia Leija emphasizes, we are here to to empower our community, and one of the ways to do that is by offering and hosting job fairs during the year, as well as to have a data base of job vacancies available here, and helping people learn how to prepare résumés and perform well in job interviews, at no cost to the public, year-round,” said Tamez.

For the October 27, 2016 job fair, Tamez recommended that individuals looking to land a job come dressed appropriately.

“We recommend the dress code be business casual, which means women should come in a pant suit or conservative dress, and men should come with slacks, a long-sleeve shirt, and a tie,” said Tamez. “Remember, you are not only representing yourself, but also your family and hometown, and we want you to look great.”

The employers who will each have a table with two chairs to meet with applicants at the job fair are:

• Dairy Queen
• Stripes
• Edinburg Retama
• Teleperformance
• Comfort Inn
• U.S. Border Patrol
• I Kunik
• Senior Care
• Santana Textiles
• Texas Department of Criminal Justice
• El Zarape
• Le Fleur Transportation
• Texas Migrant Council
• The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley
• Emma Joy Financial
• City of Edinburg
• Ocean Gate Hospitalities
• R&D Personnel
• Chipotle
• Dollar General
• Motivation,Education and Training, Inc.
• Walmart
• Luby’s
• South Texas Health Systems
• Perma Temp
• H&R Block
• United Parcel Services
• TeleTech
• Edinburg Independent School District

More information is available by contacting Reyes with the Edinburg EDC at 956/383-7124 or José Tamez, Assistant Director, Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, at 956/383-6246.

UTRGV JUMPSTART STUDENTS SCORE HIGH IN LATEST TEXAS COLLEGE READINESS TESTS

Administrators at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley are jumping for joy over the latest test results by students enrolled in its JumpStart Program.

JumpStart is designed to increase the chances for success of first-year college students who are not yet considered college-ready.

JumpStart was initiated in summer 2015 with a five-week Summer Session II academic program, which is a requirement for first-year UTRGV students who are not exempt from college readiness testing and who have failed a college readiness test – the TSI (Texas State Initiative) Assessment in reading, writing and/or math.

“We wanted our first-year students who were not yet college ready to get a jumpstart on their college career and start the fall semester on track with their peers,” said Dr. Jonikka Charlton, Associate Vice President of Student Academic Success, who oversees the program. “I’m floored with this year’s results – in a good way.”

The enrollment and results of the program’s second cohort (Summer 2016) were:

• Reading and Writing – 184 students – 94 percent pass rate.
• Math (overall) – 279 students – 90.7 percent pass rate.
• Math (pre-stats) – 39 students – 97 percent pass rate.
• Math (pre-algebra) – 240 students – 89.5 percent pass rate.

The five-week academic program allows students to focus intensively on reading, writing and/or math during the UTRGV Summer II session before they enter their first fall semester. The session includes several key supports that help students succeed, including designated peer mentors and embedded tutors in their classrooms.

Students who do not pass the JumpStart classes must enroll in the fall semester in non-credit bearing, co-requisite developmental education, which will enable them to be college ready, once passed.

Charlton said she is proud of the students, faculty and peer tutors and mentors involved, and of the commitment made by the university to these students.

“We believe in these students,” she said. “They’re smart and they belong at UTRGV. All they need to do well is a little extra support, and this program allows us to give that to them. We use our best teachers, and we have peer tutors and mentors right there with them in the classroom so they can ask questions, try things, and get feedback in real time.”

Learning to believe in herself

Entering UTRGV freshman Carolina Vélez from Mission said she was able to pass the pre-algebra TSI course with an A, thanks to the help she got in the JumpStart Program.

“Math was always difficult for me,” Vélez said. “In school, I always felt like I was bothering my teachers because I was always asking for help.”

Velez said her JumpStart teacher, UTRGV Mathematics Lecturer Dr. Zaena Zamora, took the time to explain and made it simpler for her, in words she could understand.

“They gave us individual attention,” said Vélez, who also got assistance from a JumpStart tutor, and resources like UTRGV’s Learning Center.

At first, she was unhappy with having to take a summer class, she said, but has come to believe it was the best thing she ever did.

“I met a lot of new people. It made me more confident, and have a little bit better feeling that college wouldn’t be too difficult,” said Vélez, a pre-med biology major. “Here at UTRGV, I feel like they believe in me – which makes me believe more in myself.”

Sharing what she learned

JumpStart Mentor Diana Hinojosa, a senior majoring in communications sciences and disorders, with a concentration in speech therapy, mentored 16 of the program’s students this summer, meeting with each one of them once a week.

Hinojosa, who herself benefitted from a mentoring program when she entered then UT Pan American, said she gave students advice on resources on and off campus, time management and how to approach their professors with questions.

In the JumpStart Program, she said, students have a chance to grow not only academically, but also personally.

“The transition from high school to college is not an easy transition,” Hinojosa said. “It is good to have someone there to guide you and help you stand on your own two feet.”

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Gail Fagan contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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