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Featured: Students make their way to breakout sessions during the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC) Latina Day on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at the Fieldhouse in Edinburg. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city. In the background is a portion of the $70 million, 115,000-square-foot, four-story addition to the UTRGV Science Building in Edinburg, which is set to be completed early next year. The expansion is making possible crucial infrastructure, such as classrooms, offices, suites, works stations, laboratories, and equipment, to increase to 873 a year the number of graduates in STEM, which stands for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. With the addition, the Science Building will be the largest facility on the Edinburg campus, resulting in a 272,000-square foot intensive STEM research and learning center.

Photograph By SILVER SALAS

Edinburg posted an unemployment rate of  6.2 percent in August 2017, which is the second-best showing for that month since 2008, with 36,066 people holding down full-time jobs, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. This latest data also showed that Edinburg saw a growth of 254 jobs when comparing the monthly totals of August 2017 (36,066) and August 2016 (35,812), according to the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg and McAllen, which posted an unemployment rate for August 2017 of 5.5 percent, compared favorably with other large population centers in the Valley, which reported unemployment rates ranging from 6.7 percent (Harlingen) to 9.3 percent (Weslaco). The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. The August 2017 numbers are based on preliminary figures released on Friday, September 15, 2017, by the Texas Workforce Commission. The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work. Edinburg’s August 2017 unemployment rate of 6.2 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.9), May 2017 (5.4 percent), April 2017 (5.4 percent), March 2017 (6 percent), February 2017 (6.4 percent) and January 2017 (6.2 percent). Edinburg’s August 2017 unemployment rate of 6.2 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.9), May 2017 (5.4 percent), April 2017 (5.4 percent), March 2017 (6 percent), February 2017 (6.4 percent) and January 2017 (6.2 percent). The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García 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. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García are not related.

••••••

Edinburg EDC: Edinburg’s unemployment rate of 6.2 percent for August 2017 represents the second-best showing for that month since 2008

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg posted an unemployment rate of  6.2 percent in August 2017, which is the second-best showing for that month since 2008, with 36,066 people holding down full-time jobs, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

This latest data also showed that Edinburg saw a growth of 254 jobs when comparing the monthly totals of August 2017, (36,066) and August 2016 (35,812), according to the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

Edinburg and McAllen, which posted an unemployment rate for August 2017 of 5.5 percent, compared favorably with other large population centers in the Valley, which reported unemployment rates ranging from 6.7 percent (Harlingen) to 9.3 percent (Weslaco).

The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy.

The August 2017 numbers are based on preliminary figures released on Friday, September 15, 2017, by the Texas Workforce Commission.

The number of jobs in Edinburg is independently documented by the Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency with many key duties, such as maintaining and reporting on key trends in state and local economies, including unemployment rates and the number of people employed in cities.

The number of jobs in Edinburg is independently documented by the Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency with many key duties, such as maintaining and reporting on key trends in state and local economies, including unemployment rates and the number of people employed in cities.

During 2017, Edinburg has recorded one of the lowest unemployment rates among Valley cities in April and May, and came in with the second-lowest unemployment rates during the other months in 2017 through July.

McAllen, which came in with a 5.4 percent unemployment in May 2017, tied Edinburg for the best showing for that month.

For the past several years, Edinburg has registered the lowest or second-lowest monthly unemployment rate among all Valley cities.

The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García 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.

Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García are not related.

The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work.

Edinburg’s August 2017 unemployment rate of 6.2 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.9), May 2017 (5.4 percent), April 2017 (5.4 percent), March 2017 (6 percent), February 2017 (6.4 percent) and January 2017 (6.2 percent).

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, for the month of August 2017, these are the employment figures for the seven largest cities in the Valley:

Brownsville: 70,299
McAllen: 60,056
Edinburg: 36,066
Mission: 31,034
Pharr: 27,085
Harlingen: 23,220
Weslaco: 13,894

CITY’S MONTHLY, ANNUAL UNEMPLOYMENT REMAIN AMONG BEST IN VALLEY

Edinburg’s August 2017 unemployment rate and the latest figures from the Valley’s most populated cities follow:

McAllen: 5.5 percent
Edinburg: 6.2 percent
Harlingen: 6.7 percent
Mission: 7.2 percent
Brownsville: 7.6 percent
Pharr: 9.0 percent
Weslaco: 9.3 percent

The state’s unemployment rate in August 2017 was 4.5 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in August 2016.

The U.S. unemployment rate in August 2017 was 4.4 percent, compared with 4.9 percent the same month the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000)

Edinburg’s annual unemployment rate for 2016 compared favorably with the Valley’s other major cities:

The annual unemployment rate in McAllen for 2016 was 5.4 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2016 was 5.9 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Harlingen for 2o16 was 6.1 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Mission for 2o16 was 7.4 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Brownsville for 2o16 was 7.8 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Weslaco for 2o16 was 8.1 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Pharr for 2o16 was 8.3 percent.

Edinburg’s annual unemployment rates since 2005, which is the year in which the state government began preparing those figures using a more accurate formula, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, have registered as follows: 2016 (5.9); 2015 (5) percent), 2014 (5.8 percent), 2013 (6.9 percent), 2012 (7.5 percent), 2011 (8.4 percent), 2010 (8.2 percent), 2009 (6.8 percent), 2008 (4.9 percent), 2007 (4.7 percent), 2006 (5.2 percent), and 2005 (4.9 percent).

Edinburg’s 2017 employment, by month, follows:

August: 36,066
July: 36,101
June: 36,601
May: 36,856
April: 36,909
March: 36,862
February: 36,621
January: 36,246

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the major cities in the four-county Valley have recorded the following monthly unemployment rates in 2017,  2016, and 2015:

McALLEN

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 5.5 percent
July: 5.2 percent
June: 5.7 percent
May: 5.4 percent
April: 5.6 percent
March: 6 percent
February: 6.2 percent
January: 5.9 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 5.4 percent
November: 5.2 percent
October: 5.3 percent
September: 5.7 percent
August: 5.9 percent
July: 6 percent
June: 5.8 percent
May: 5 percent
April: 5 percent
March: 5.1 percent
February: 5.1 percent
January: 5.3 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015

December: 4.5 percent
November: 4.8 percent
October: 4.9 percent
September: 5.1 percent
August: 5.2 percent
July: 5.6 percent
June: 5.4 percent
May: 4.9 percent
April: 4.5 percent
March: 4.7 percent
February: 4.9 percent
January: 5.2 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5 percent

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EDINBURG

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 6.2 percent
July: 5.7 percent
June: 5.9 percent
May: 5.4 percent
April: 5.4 percent
March: 6 percent
February: 6.4 percent
January: 6.2 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016 

December: 5.9 percent
November: 5.7 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.3 percent
August: 6.3 percent
July 2016: 6.5 percent
June 2016: 6.5 percent
May 2016: 5.4 percent
April 2016: 5.5 percent
March 2016: 5.6 percent
February 2016: 5.5 percent
January 2016: 5.8 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.9 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015

December: 4.7 percent
November: 4.7 percent
October: 4.9 percent
September: 5 percent
August: 5.4 percent
July: 5.7 percent
June: 5.5 percent
May: 5 percent
April: 4.6 percent
March: 4.8 percent
February: 4.9 percent
January: 5.2 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5 percent

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HARLINGEN

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 6.7 percent
July: 6.5 percent
June: 7 percent
May: 6.6 percent
April: 6.9 percent
March: 7.4 percent
February: 7.5 percent
January: 7 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 6.2 percent
November: 6.1 percent
October: 6.4 percent
September: 6.4 percent
August: 6.5 percent
July 2016: 6.3 percent
June 2016: 6.3 percent
May 2016: 5.7 percent
April 2016: 5.7 percent
March 2016: 5.8 percent
February 2016: 5.9 percent
January 2016: 5.9 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.1

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 5.3 percent
November: 5.6 percent
October: 5.7 percent
September: 5.9 percent
August: 6.3 percent
July: 6.5 percent
June: 6.4 percent
May: 5.9 percent
April: 5.6 percent
March: 5.7 percent
February: 6 percent
January: 6.5 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6 percent

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MISSION

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 7.2 percent
July: 7.0 percent
June: 7.5 percent
May: 6.7 percent
April: 7.3 percent
March: 7.9 percent
February: 8.1 percent
January: 8.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 7.4 percent
November: 7.1 percent
October: 6.9 percent
September: 7.2 percent
August: 7.5 percent
July: 7.9 percent
June: 7.9 percent
May: 6.9 percent
April: 7.1 percent
March: 7.4 percent
February: 7.4 percent
January: 7.7 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015 

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6.1 percent
October: 6.1 percent
September: 6.1 percent
August: 6.5 percent
July: 6.7 percent
June: 6.7 percent
May: 6.1 percent
April: 5.7 percent
March: 5.8 percent
February: 6 percent
January: 6.5 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.2 percent

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BROWNSVILLE

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 7.6 percent
July: 7.4 percent
June: 8.3 percent
May: 7.2 percent
April: 7.9 percent
March: 8.2 percent
February: 8.7 percent
January: 8.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 8.1 percent
November: 7.7 percent
October: 7.5 percent
September 2016: 8.1 percent
August 2016: 8.3 percent
July 2016: 8.5 percent
June: 8.6 percent
May: 7.2 percent
April: 7.2 percent
March: 7.3 percent
February: 7.3 percent
January 2016: 7.6 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 6.9 percent
November: 6.9 percent
October: 6.5 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7 percent
July: 7.2 percent
June: 7.2 percent
May: 6.7 percent
April: 6.6 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.3 percent
January: 8 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7 percent

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PHARR

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 9.o percent
July: 8.5 percent
June: 9.4 percent
May: 8.2 percent
April: 8.6 percent
March: 9.3 percent
February: 9.4 percent
January: 9.9 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December 2016: 8.9 percent
November 2016: 8 percent
October 2016: 7.2 percent
September: 8.1 percent
August 2016: 8.7 percent
July 2016: 9 percent
June 2016: 9.2 percent
May 2016: 7.5 percent
April 2016: 7.8 percent
March 2016: 8.1 percent
February 2o16: 8.3 percent
January 2016: 8.9 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 7.2 percent
November: 7 percent
October: 6.4 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7.3 percent
July: 7.6 percent
June: 7.4 percent
May: 6.4 percent
April: 6.2 percent
March: 6.5 percent
February: 6.9 percent
January: 7.7 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.9 percent

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WESLACO

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 9.3 percent
July: 9.0 percent
June: 9.2 percent
May: 7.8 percent
April: 7.8 percent
March: 8.3 percent
February: 8.8 percent
January: 9.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December 2016: 9.7 percent
November 2016: 8.3 percent
October 2016: 6.7 percent
September 2016: 8.2 percent
August 2016: 8.8 percent
July 2016: 9.3 percent
June 2016: 8.9 percent
May 2016: 6.9 percent
April 2016: 7 percent
March: 7.8 percent
February 2016: 7.6 percent
January 2016: 8.5 percent.

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8.1 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015 

December: 6.8 percent
November: 6.5 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 6.8 percent
July: 6.6 percent
June: 6.3 percent
May: 6 percent
April: 5.7 percent
March: 6 percent
February: 6.5 percent
January: 7.3 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent

••••••

ADDITIONAL REGIONAL ECONOMIC STATISTICS

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the four counties in the Rio Grande Valley have recorded the following monthly unemployment rates in 2017,  2016, and 2015:

HIDALGO COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 8.0 percent
July: 7.6 percent
June: 8.3 percent
May: 7.5 percent
April: 8 percent
March: 8.5 percent
February: 8.8 percent
January: 9 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 8.2 percent
November: 7.6 percent
October: 7.1 percent
September: 7.9 percent
August: 8.3 percent
July: 8.5 percent
June: 8.4 percent
May: 7.1 percent
April: 7.3 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 7.8 percent
January: 8.2 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Hidalgo County for 2o16 was 7.8 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 7.9 percent
November: 7.8 percent
October: 7.4 percent
September: 7.7 percent
August: 8.2 percent
July: 8.5 percent
June: 8.4 percent
May: 7.6 percent
April: 7.4 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 8 percent
January: 8.5 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Hidalgo County for 2o15 was 7.9 percent.

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CAMERON COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 7.3 percent
July: 7.0 percent
June: 7.8 percent
May: 7 percent
April: 7.5 percent
March: 7.9 percent
February: 8.3 percent
January: 8.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 7.4 percent
November: 7 percent
October: 6.9 percent
September: 7.4 percent
August: 7.5 percent
July: 7.7 percent
June: 7.8 percent
May: 6.7 percent
April: 6.8 percent
March: 7 percent
February: 7 percent
January: 7.2 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Cameron County for 2o16 was  7.2 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 6.8 percent
November: 6.9 percent
October: 6.7 percent
September: 6.8 percent
August: 7.1 percent
July: 7.4 percent
June: 7.5 percent
May: 6.9 percent
April: 6.8 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.4 percent
January: 8 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate in Cameron County for 2o15 was 7.1 percent.

Also for August 2017, there were 308,407 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 155,264 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.

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STARR COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 11.1 percent
July: 11.3 percent
June: 12.6 percent
May: 11.9 percent
April: 14 percent
March: 14.9 percent
February: 15.6 percent
January: 15.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 14.1 percent
November: 13 percent
October: 12.2 percent
September: 13.4 percent
August: 13.9 percent
July: 14.3 percent
June: 14.2 percent
May: 12.5 percent
April: 13.5 percent
March: 14.3 percent
February: 13.9 percent
January: 14.2 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Starr County for 2o16 was 13.6 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 13.4 percent
November: 13.4 percent
October: 12.6 percent
September: 12.6 percent
August: 13.6 percent
July: 14.1 percent
June: 14.2 percent
May: 13 percent
April: 13 percent
March: 13.7 percent
February: 13.8 percent
January: 14.4 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate in Starr County for 2o15 was 13.5 percent.

••••••

WILLACY COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

August: 11.2 percent
July: 11.7 percent
June: 12.6 percent
May: 12.3 percent
April: 13.3 percent
March: 13.3 percent
February: 13.2 percent
January: 12.7 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 11.2 percent
November: 11.1 percent
October: 11.2 percent
September: 12.2 percent
August: 12.8 percent
July: 13.8 percent
June: 13.8 percent
May: 12.4 percent
April: 12.3 percent
March: 12.5 percent
February: 12.4 percent
January: 12.6 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Willacy County for 2o16 was 12.4 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 12.1 percent
November: 12.6 percent
October: 12.9 percent
September: 12.5 percent
August: 13.7 percent
July: 14.3 percent
June: 14.6 percent
May: 13.5 percent
April: 13.4 percent
March: 13.2 percent
February: 11.7 percent
January: 12.1 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Willacy County for 2o15 was 13 percent.

For August 2017, there were 22,451 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 5,506 persons were employed in Willacy County.

MORE DETAILED FIGURES ON NUMBER OF JOBS, UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FOR EDINBURG

More detailed information about the labor market and unemployment rates in Edinburg follows:

Edinburg 2016 Employment, By Month

December: 36,476
November: 36,287
October: 36,139
September 2016: 36,038
August 2016: 35,812
July 2016: 35,545
June 2016: 36,234
May 2016: 36,529
April 2016: 36,494
March 2016: 36,340
February 2016: 36,017
January 2016: 35,675

Edinburg 2015 Employment, By Month

December: 35,837
November: 35,803
October: 35,490
September: 35,225
August: 35,025
July: 34,978
June: 35,634
May: 36,029
April: 35,790
March: 35,665
February: 35,416
January: 35,308

Edinburg 2014 Employment, By Month

December 2014: 35,501
November 2014: 35,542
October 2014: 35,456
September 2014: 35,080
August 2014: 34,681
July 2014: 34,583
June 2014: 35,295
May 2014: 35,495
April 2014: 35,462
March 2014: 35,301
February 2014: 35,204
January 2014: 35,053

Edinburg 2013 Employment, By Month

December: 35,071
November: 34,824
October: 34,364
September: 34,291
August: 33,942
July: 33,735
June: 34,333
May: 34,504
April: 34,568
March: 34,241
February: 34,196
January: 34,111

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2014

December: 4.7 percent
November: 5.2 percent
October: 5.5 percent
September: 5.7 percent
August: 6.4 percent
July: 6.6 percent
June: 6.5 percent
May: 5.8 percent
April: 5.3 percent
March: 5.9 percent
February: 6.2 percent
January: 6.3 percent

Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.8 percent

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2013 

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6.4 percent
October: 7 percent
September: 6.9 percent
August: 7.2 percent
July: 7.5 percent
June: 7.6 percent
May: 6.9 percent
April: 6.4 percent
March: 6.8 percent
February: 7.1 percent
January: 7.3 percent

Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.9 percent.

Because of substantial methodology changes between 2004 and 2005 in estimating city unemployment statistics, Texas city data is not available prior to 2005, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Because of substantial methodology changes in geographic areas below the state level, data from 2005 and 2004 or earlier is not considered comparable, the state agency explains.

Effective in March 2015, the TWC also notes that “for all sub-state LAUS estimates, a break in series exists between December 2009 and January 2010 due to a change in methodology used. The use of caution is advised when comparing data from prior to 2010 to that of 2010-present.

The Texas Workforce Commission data on all entities in the state, including cities and counties, is available online at:

http://www.tracer2.com/cgi/dataanalysis/AreaSelection.asp?tableName=Labforce

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS ENJOY INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGES DURING LATINA DAY AT UTRGV IN EDINBURG

Hundreds of high school girls and their mothers on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, learned about the educational and career opportunities that await them – and about the power of hard work and ambition – during the 16th annual Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The girls and their mothers attending Wednesday’s Latina Day heard from community leaders at the UTRGV Fieldhouse on the Edinburg Campus about the importance of setting goals, following their dreams, developing strong networking and communication skills and staying positive.

Linda Tovar, senior manager of public affairs for H-E-B border region, shared her life story and offered lessons in life to the mothers and daughters in attendance, among them, keep an open mind to opportunities that come along; don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things; never become complacent; and always strive to do and learn more.

She urged mothers to be patient with their ambitious daughters, because that ambition will allow them to succeed in life.

“No matter what your circumstance is, with dedication, ambition and commitment, you can persevere,” she said.

Tovar also offered the women one more life lesson: to pass on the message to those who follow in their footsteps that education is the key to their success.

“I would not be here today if it was not for the university now known as UTRGV, and the dedicated pursuit of higher education,” she said. “Work hard, dream big, my beautiful Latinas.”

Also on the agenda for Latina Day were:

Sarah Sagredo-Hammond, of Atlas RGV, and Cristina Solis-Wilson, of CM Institute of Leadership, who gave a presentation on the importance of developing strong communication and networking skills.

Bridgett Krause, an executive coach with the John Maxwell Team and founder and CEO of the Dream Big Facility, a leadership development company, talked to the group about leadership and the importance of staying positive even in adverse situations.  “Leadership is influence,” Krause said.

Karen Torres, an 18-year-old senior at Mercedes High School, and her mother, Maribel Torres, said they enjoyed the speakers and the uplifting messages.

“They were very motivational,” Karen Torres said.

She said she especially enjoyed the breakout sessions about STEM fields, because she is interested in studying biology and business.

HESTEC continued on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at the Jacob Brown Building-Auditorium on the Texas Southmost College Campus with Robotics Day, where hundreds of students competed in a robotics Quadrathon Challenge for prizes.

Visit the HESTEC website for a complete list of events and News to read more about HESTEC.

PHOTO GALLERY
https://utrgv-umc.photoshelter.com/galleries/C0000OxOMyzQL3z4/G0000wcaz_0ZIPGo/20171004-HESTEC-Latina-Day-EC-PC

ABOUT UTRGV

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.
UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.

UTRGV NAMED A TEXAS-MOTHER FRIENDLY WORKSITE

Leaders of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Monday, September 25, 2017, announced that UTRGV had been designated a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite by the Department of State Health Services, for its support for breastfeeding employees and their commitment to their children and jobs.

Dr. Marie T. Mora, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity, said the designation demonstrates UTRGV’s proactive support of its faculty, staff and students who choose to breastfeed their infants.

“What this designation means is that UTRGV provides flexibility, including scheduling breaks and work patterns, for UTRGV employees to have time to express their breastmilk,” Mora said. “It also means that faculty, staff and students who are nursing have access to private locations that are not bathrooms, and access to hygienic storage options for mothers to safely store their breastmilk.”

The university currently provides six Nursing Mother Suites – four on the Edinburg Campus, one on the Brownsville Campus, and one at the Harlingen Clinical Educational Building.

The suites are equipped with a comfortable recliner, table and television; women must provide their own breast pump and supplies. To access the private suites, users must obtain a Mommy Card from Human Resources or Student Health Services. Currently, there are about 15 Mommy Cards in use by faculty and staff, and seven being utilized by students.

Mora said there is a UTRGV policy on lactation support, which states, “In recognition of the well-documented health advantages of breastfeeding for infants and mothers, UTRGV provides a supportive environment to enable breastfeeding mothers to express milk during work hours.”

The university was able to create the Nursing Mother Suites thanks to the UTRGV National Science Foundation ADVANCE program. Mora said ADVANCE was looking for ways to promote a more “family-friendly” climate at the university.

“Having nursing mother suites and being publicly supportive of the needs of nursing mothers was a natural initiative for this,” she said. “We put it into motion through initial discussions across members of the ADVANCE Leadership Team, the Women’s Faculty Network Wellness Committee, the Faculty Senate, Human Resources, and the university’s facilities planning and operations,” Mora said. “We are excited to know that, as new buildings on our campuses are being designed, additional nursing mother suites will likely be included.”

UTRGV is among 2,642 worksites in Texas, and one of three universities in the state, including Baylor and Texas Tech, that earned the Mother-Friendly designation.

Making the most of Nursing Mother Suites

New UTRGV faculty member Dr. Jessica Stewart said she has been utilizing the Nursing Mother Suites since mid-August and finds them to be a tremendous help: They solved her dilemma of how she was going to nurse her 5-month-old son Josiah once she started working at the university.

Stewart, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, said she had considered switching Josiah to formula when she started working – which she found devastating, as she had worked so hard to establish a nursing routine and wanted to nurse him until he was at least 6 months old.

“When I found out about the Nursing Mother Suites, I immediately felt a sense of relief. I was so happy that I would be able to meet my goal of six months,” Stewart said. “These suites provide me with a nearby place to nurse my son or make him bottles, which relieves a lot of stress for me. Also, these suites allow me to better perform my job and engage in the college community, because without them, I would not be able to attend certain events or functions due to the fact that I would not have anywhere to nurse my child or make him bottles.”

Christina Chávez, undergraduate research and creative works program coordinator for the Office of Engaged Scholarship and Learning, was hired in March 2017 and began using the suites immediately. The convenience of the private rooms has helped her transition from being a full-time, stay-at-home parent to the new breadwinner of the family.

“I am a new mother, and I am not really sure how some parents effectively manage both roles,” said Chávez, mother to 17-month-old Katarina. “Sometimes, I feel like my work suffers and, other times, I feel like I miss out on my family. But the nursing mother suites have made it easier to manage providing breastmilk for my firstborn for as long as I possibly can, for her health and wellbeing.”

Claudia García, Program Coordinator for the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Diversity and mother to 8-month-old Sabrina, said having access to the private, sanitary, comfortable and accessible Nursing Mother Suites so she can pump while at work has been a blessing.

“It is stress-relieving not to have to worry about the logistics of having to make plans in advance for a suitable location to pump breastmilk for my baby,” said García, who returned to work when her daughter was 10 weeks old. “Instead of worrying about this, I can focus on my work. That makes me feel accomplished, both as a mom and as a professional.”

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Jennifer L. Berghom  and Melissa Vázquez 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 tohttp://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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