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Edinburg registers Valley’s lowest unemployment rate – 4.9 percent in February 2018 – an increase 0f 1,080 jobs compared with February 2017 figure

Featured, from left: Ofira Guerra, Zafira Castillo, and Carlos X. Guerra were among scholarship donors and recipients who gathered at the Edinburg Campus of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, March 29, 2018. Castillo was one of the recipients of the Rafael and Carmen Guerra Honors Program Fund. 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 also has a major campus in the city.

Photograph By SILVER SALAS

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Edinburg registers Valley’s lowest unemployment rate – 4.9 percent in February 2018 – an increase 0f 1,080 jobs compared with February 2017 figure

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg posted the lowest unemployment rate in the Rio Grande Valley during February 2018, coming in at 4.9 percent, and also saw an increase of almost 1,100 jobs compared with the same month last year, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

For February 2018, there were 38,975 individuals employed in the city, compared with 37,895 persons working in February 2017 – representing an addition of 1,080 jobs, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which released statewide figures on Friday, March 23, 2018.

Also, Edinburg saw a growth of 461 jobs when comparing the monthly total forFebruary 2018, (38,975) andJanuary 2018(38,514), the Texas Workforce Commission also reported.

The unemployment rate for Edinburg during January 2018 was 5.2 percent.

McAllen, which tied Edinburg with its own 4.9 percent unemployment rate for February 2018, is the only other Valley city which posted an unemployment rate of less than five percent for that month.

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

The Edinburg EDC, of which Joey Treviño is the Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Councilmember Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Councilmember Salinas as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Molina and Mayor Pro Tem Torres as Members.

In addition, the February 2018 unemployment rate of 4.9 percent represents the fifth time during that month that the city’s unemployment rate has been below five percent since 2005, according to 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 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.

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

Edinburg’s February 2018 unemployment rate of 4.9 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including January 2018 (5.2 percent),  December 2017 (4.8 percent), November 2017 (4.8 percent), October 2017 (4.9 percent), September 2017 (5.3 percent), August 2017 (6 percent), July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.6), May 2017 (4.9 percent), April 2017 (4.8 percent), March 2017 (5.4 percent), February 2017 (5.9 percent) and January 2017 (6.1 percent).

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, for the month of February 2018, these are the employment figures for the seven largest cities in the Valley:

Brownsville: 70,602
McAllen: 63,431
Edinburg: 38,975
Mission: 32,433
Pharr: 28,505
Harlingen: 23,245
Weslaco: 14,679

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

Edinburg’s February 2018 unemployment rate and the latest figures from the Valley’s most populated cities follow:

Edinburg: 4.9 percent
McAllen: 4.9 percent
Harlingen: 6.1 percent
Mission: 6 percent
Brownsville: 6.9 percent
Weslaco: 7.3 percent
Pharr: 7.6 percent

The state’s unemployment rate in February 2018 was 4.1 percent, compared with 4.8 percent in February 2017.

The U.S. unemployment rate in February 2018 was 4.1 percent, compared with 4.7 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 2017 compared favorably with the Valley’s other major cities:

The annual unemployment rate in McAllen for 2017 was 5.1 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2017 was 5.3 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Harlingen for 2o17 was 6.4  percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Mission for 2o17 was 6.8 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Brownsville for 2017 was 7.2 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Weslaco for 2o17 was 8 percent; and
The annual unemployment rate in Pharr for 2o17 was  8.1 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: 2017 (5.3 percent), 2016 (5.8 percent), 2015 (5 percent), 2014 (5.8 percent), 2013 (7 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 2018employment, by month, follows:

February: 38,975
January: 38,514

Edinburg’s 2017 employment, by month, follows:

December: 38,595
November: 38,396
October: 38,181
September: 38,007
August: 37,442
July: 37,237
June: 38,047
May: 38,317
April: 38,407
March: 38,160
February: 37,895
January: 37,738

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, 2018

February: 4.9 percent
January: 5 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 4.4 percent
November: 4.5 percent
October: 4.4 percent
September: 4.7 percent
August: 5.4 percent
July: 5.4 percent
June: 5.4 percent
May: 5.1 percent
April: 5.0 percent
March: 5.4 percent
February: 5.8 percent
January: 5.8 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 5.4 percent
November: 5.1 percent
October: 5.3 percent
September: 5.8 percent
August: 6.0 percent
July: 6 percent
June: 5.8 percent
May: 4.9 percent
April: 5 percent
March: 5.1 percent
February: 5.0 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: 4.8percent
January: 5.2 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5 percent

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EDINBURG

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

February: 4.9 percent
January: 5.2 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 4.8 percent
November 2017: 6.1 percent
October 2017: 4.9 percent
September 2017: 5.3 percent
August: 6.0 percent
July: 5.7 percent
June: 5.6 percent
May: 4.9 percent
April: 4.8 percent
March: 5.4 percent
February: 5.9 percent
January: 6.1 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016 

December: 5.7 percent
November: 5.6 percent
October: 5.7 percent
September: 6.2 percent
August: 6.2 percent
July: 6.4 percent
June: 6.3 percent
May: 5.2 percent
April: 5.3 percent
March: 5.5 percent
February: 5.3 percent
January: 5.7 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015

December: 4.7 percent
November: 4.6 percent
October: 4.9 percent
September: 5 percent
August: 5.4 percent
July: 5.7 percent
June: 5.5 percent
May: 5.1 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, 2018

February: 6.1 percent
January: 6.0 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 5.4 percent
November: 5.9 percent
October: 5.5 percent
September: 5.9 percent
August: 6.7 percent
July: 6.7 percent
June: 6.6 percent
May: 6.2 percent
April: 6.3 percent
March: 6.8 percent
February: 7.1 percent
January: 7 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 6.2 percent
November: 6.1 percent
October: 6.4 percent
September: 6.5 percent
August: 6.6 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: 5.8 percent
January 2016: 5.7 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 5.3 percent
November: 5.6 percent
October: 5.7 percent
September: 5.9 percent
August: 6.2 percent
July: 6.4 percent
June: 6.4 percent
May: 6.0 percent
April: 5.5 percent
March: 5.7 percent
February: 5.9 percent
January: 6.5 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.9 percent

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MISSION

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

February: 6.0 percent
January: 6.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 5.7 percent
November: 5.7 percent
October: 5.7 percent
September: 6.4 percent
August: 7.1 percent
July: 7.2 percent
June: 7.2 percent
May: 6.3 percent
April: 6.6 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.7 percent
January: 8.3 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 7.4 percent
November: 7.1 percent
October: 6.9 percent
September: 7.3 percent
August: 7.6 percent
July: 7.9 percent
June: 7.8 percent
May: 6.8 percent
April: 7.1 percent
March: 7.4 percent
February: 7.3 percent
January: 7.6 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: 6.4 percent
July: 6.7 percent
June: 6.7 percent
May: 6.1 percent
April: 5.7 percent
March: 5.8 percent
February: 5.9 percent
January: 6.4 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.2 percent

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BROWNSVILLE

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

February: 6.9 percent
January: 7.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6.0 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7.5 percent
July: 7.6 percent
June: 7.9 percent
May: 6.8 percent
April: 7.2 percent
March: 7.4 percent
February: 8.2 percent
January: 8.8 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.2 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 8.1 percent
November: 7.7 percent
October: 7.6 percent
September 2016: 8.2 percent
August 2016: 8.4 percent
July 2016: 8.5 percent
June: 8.5 percent
May: 7.1 percent
April: 7.1 percent
March: 7.3 percent
February: 7.2 percent
January 2016: 7.4 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 6.9 percent
November: 6.8 percent
October: 6.5 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7 percent
July: 7.2 percent
June: 7.2 percent
May: 6.8 percent
April: 6.6 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.3 percent
January: 8 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: percent

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PHARR

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

February: 7.6 percent
January: 8.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 7.1 percent
November: 6.9 percent
October: 6.4 percent
September: 7.6 percent
August: 8.9 percent
July: 8.7 percent
June: 8.9 percent
May: 7.6 percent
April: 7.8 percent
March: 8.5 percent
February: 8.8 percent
January: 9.8 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December 2016: 8.9 percent
November 2016: 7.9 percent
October 2016: 7.2 percent
September: 8.2 percent
August 2016: 8.7 percent
July 2016: 9 percent
June 2016: 9.1 percent
May 2016: 7.5 percent
April 2016: 7.8 percent
March 2016: 8.1 percent
February 2o16: 8.1 percent
January 2016: 8.8 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: 6.5 percent
April: 6.2 percent
March: 6.5 percent
February: 6.8 percent
January: 7.6 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.9 percent

WESLACO

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

February: 7.6 percent
January: 8.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 8.0 percent
November: 7.2 percent
October: 6.0 percent
September: 7.3 percent
August: 9.0 percent
July: 9.2 percent
June: 8.8 percent
May: 7.2 percent
April: 7.1 percent
March: 7.5 percent
February: 8.2 percent
January: 9.7 percent

2017 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8.0 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December 2016: 9.5 percent
November 2016: 8.1 percent
October 2016: 6.7 percent
September 2016: 8.3 percent
August 2016: 8.8 percent
July 2016: 9.3 percent
June 2016: 8.8 percent
May 2016: 6.8 percent
April 2016: 6.9 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February 2016: 7.5 percent
January 2016: 8.3 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: 6.7 percent
July: 6.6 percent
June: 6.3 percent
May: 6 percent
April: 5.6 percent
March: 6 percent
February: 6.5 percent
January: 7.2 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent

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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 2018, 2017,  2016, and 2015:

HIDALGO COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

February: 7.1 percent
January: 7.6 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 6.6 percent
November: 6.3 percent
October: 5.9 percent
September: 6.8 percent
August: 7.8 percent
July: 7.8 percent
June: 7.9 percent
May: 7.0 percent
April: 7.3 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 8.3 percent
January: 9 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Hidalgo County for 2o17 was 7.4 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 8.2 percent
November: 7.5 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: 7.2 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 7.7 percent
January: 8.1 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: 7.7 percent
April: 7.3 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 7.9 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

February: 6.7 percent
January: 6.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 5.9 percent
November: 5.9 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.4 percent
August: 7.2 percent
July: 7.2 percent
June: 7.5 percent
May: 6.6 percent
April: 6.8 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.8 percent
January: 8.2 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Cameron County for 2o17 was 6.9 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 7.3 percent
November: 7 percent
October: 7.0 percent
September: 7.4 percent
August: 7.6 percent
July: 7.7 percent
June: 7.8 percent
May: 6.6 percent
April: 6.7 percent
March: 7 percent
February: 6.9 percent
January: 7.1 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: 6.7 percent
August: 7.1 percent
July: 7.4 percent
June: 7.5 percent
May: 7.0 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 February 2018, there were 324,164 individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 155,978 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.

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STARR COUNTY

February: 11.4 percent
January: 12.2 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 10.1 percent
November: 9.4 percent
October: 8.7 percent
September: 9.7 percent
August: 10.9 percent
July: 11.4 percent
June: 11.9 percent
May: 11 percent
April: 12.6 percent
March: 13.4 percent
February: 14.7 percent
January: 15.7 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate in Starr County for 2o17 was 11.7 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 13.8 percent
November: 12.7 percent
October: 12.1 percent
September: 13.3 percent
August: 13.7 percent
July: 14 percent
June: 13.9 percent
May: 12.1 percent
April: 13.1 percent
March: 14 percent
February: 13.5 percent
January: 13.8 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Starr County for 2o16 was 13.3 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 13.4 percent
November: 13.3 percent
October: 12.6 percent
September: 12.6 percent
August: 13.6 percent
July: 14.1 percent
June: 14.2 percent
May: 13.1 percent
April: 12.9 percent
March: 13.8 percent
February: 13.8 percent
January: 14.3 percent

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

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WILLACY COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2018

February: 11.4 percent
January: 11 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

December: 9.0 percent
November: 8.8 percent
October: 8.9 percent
September: 9.6 percent
August: 11.1 percent
July: 12 percent
June: 11.7 percent
May: 11.3 percent
April: 11.7 percent
March: 12.1 percent
February: 12.5 percent
January: 12.9 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate in Willacy County for 2o17 was 11 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 11.1 percent
November: 11.1 percent
October: 11.3 percent
September: 12.3 percent
August: 12.8 percent
July: 13.7 percent
June: 13.5 percent
May: 12.1 percent
April: 12.1 percent
March: 12.4 percent
February: 12.2 percent
January: 12.4 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Willacy County for 2o16 was 12.2 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 12 percent
November: 12.5 percent
October: 12.9 percent
September: 12.4 percent
August: 13.7 percent
July: 14.3 percent
June: 14.6 percent
May: 13.6 percent
April: 13.4 percent
March: 13.2 percent
February: 11.6 percent
January: 12.1 percent

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

For February 2018, there were 23,463 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month, 5,561 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: 37,915
November: 37,704
October: 37,404
September: 37,124
August: 36,908
July: 36,569
June: 37,299
May: 37,635
April: 37,607
March: 37,447
February: 37,169
January: 36,776

Edinburg 2015 Employment, By Month

December: 35,984
November: 35,904
October: 35,530
September: 35,293
August: 35,108
July: 35,027
June: 35,683
May: 36,111
April: 35,872
March: 35,741
February: 35,544
January: 35,436

Edinburg 2014 Employment, By Month

December: 35,666
November: 35,686
October: 35,535
September: 35,173
August: 34,763
July: 34,611
June: 35,301
May: 35,529
April: 35,486
March: 35,301
February: 35,232
January: 35,049

Edinburg 2013 Employment, By Month

December: 35,099
November: 34,838
October: 34,323
September: 34,248
August: 33,921
July: 33,668
June: 34,249
May: 34,444
April: 34,495
March: 34,137
February: 34,121
January: 34,018

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: 6.7 percent
June: 6.5 percent
May: 5.8 percent
April: 5.2 percent
March: 5.9 percent
February: 6.2 percent
January: 6.2 percent

Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.8 percent

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2013 

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6.4 percent
October: 7 percent
September: percent
August: 7.2 percent
July: 7.6 percent
June: 7.7 percent
May: 7 percent
April: 6.4 percent
March: 6.9 percent
February: 7.2 percent
January: 7.3 percent

Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.0 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

UTRGV SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS MEET WITH DONORS WHO ARE INVESTING IN THEIR EDUCATION

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley scholarship recipients recently had the chance to meet the donors who are investing in their education.

The donors, who have established named or endowed scholarships, and the recipients connected at the university’s annual donor scholarship luncheons, held in Brownsville on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 and in Edinburg on Thursday, March 29, 2018.

Endowment donor Jorge Estrada and his siblings set up the Carlos A. & Virginia G. Estrada Scholarship Fund Endowment in honor of their parents. The scholarship provides funds for tuition, fees, books and expenses.  The Brownsville luncheon gave him a chance to meet two of their recipients.

“It feels great to be sitting next to these guys and hear their stories,” Estrada said.

Michael García, one of the recipients of the Estrada Scholarship, graduated in December 2017 with a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. Meeting Estrada gave him the opportunity to express his gratitude.

“Thank you so much,” García said. “I wouldn’t have achieved my goals without your support.”

Jerry Martínez, another Estrada Scholarship recipient, is set to graduate in May with a master’s degree in public administration. He was working full time and only taking one class each semester. But receiving the Estrada Scholarship allowed him to jump on the accelerated track to earn his degree.

“If it wasn’t for the Estrada scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to pay for the accelerated route. Tuition is due every seven weeks. Now, I’m so close to graduating,” Martínez said.

Like the Estrada family, Carlos X. Guerra and his family have invested in scholarships at UTRGV.  The family has set up five endowments with the university.  He and his wife, Ofira, attended the Edinburg luncheon.

“In our opinion, education is the solution to all problems.  It’s the greatest thing that a parent can leave their child or a community leader can leave their community,” said Guerra “So, we work very hard to encourage students through scholarships.”

Zafira Castillo is one of the Guerra family’s recipients. The Rafael and Carmen Guerra Honors Program Fund gave her the resources she needed to study abroad.

“Their financial support allowed me to go to Peru.  I had such an amazing experience and learned so much,” said Castillo.

“Be the Change”

This year’s luncheon theme was “Be the Change,” a shortened version of the popular phrase, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Alicia King, Associate Vice President for Development, spoke at both events about the formula for encouraging positive change.

“The first step is to notice what’s happening in the world around you. Step two is to choose actions that create positive change. Step three is to act as a role model for kindness and compassion,” she said. “By contributing to the world through positive actions and service to others, we can inspire change all around us.”

King introduced a video about a cycle of generosity featuring a couple who is changing lives through their endowments. One of their scholarship recipients went on to establish three endowments at UTRGV, and is now supporting a student in the School of Medicine who plans to establish an endowment of his own someday.

Dr. Patricia McHatton, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Student Success and P-16 Integration, thanked the endowment donors at each luncheon and had a message for the scholarship recipients.

“Really think about this idea of paying it forward,” she said. “None of us is self-made. All of us are where we’re at because someone saw something in us, provided us an opportunity to dream, allowed us to be able to achieve those dreams,” McHatton said. “So now, we have a responsibility. That responsibility is to give back and make sure that we do the same for others who come behind us.”

Investing in Students

Scholarships provide a stream of financial support for students to cover tuition, fees and other college-related expenses.  Donors can create a scholarship through an outright gift or through an endowment. Endowment gifts are a long-term, strategic investment in UTRGV.

For more information on establishing a scholarship at UTRGV, contact the Division of Institutional Advancement at (956) 665-5301.

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.

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

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