Tag Archives: Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement

A Life Is Turned Around with VIDA

Maria Delgado

Each month, VBR shines a spotlight on a current participant or a graduate of Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement. VIDA’s mission is to simultaneously address the need for skilled works in the Valley while preparing unemployed and underemployed residents for high-skill, high-wage jobs. This month, the spotlight is on Maria Delgado. The story is written in her words just prior to her graduation in December 2020, which will provide…

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VIDA Offers Paid Electrician Program

VIDA Executive Director Priscilla Alvarez and Director of Workforce Development Isidro Ramos

The Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement is offering to pay tuition, tools and books for the Commercial Electrician Program beginning Jan. 11. Classes will take place in McAllen and Brownsville. According to VIDA, with this training, anyone with construction or electrician experience will be closer to gaining their electrician license.  For individuals with no experience, the program will get them on a career path to achieve the Journeyman License.…

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Never Too Late to Seek a Brighter Future

Jose M. Gutierrez

For 10 years, Mercedes native Jose M. Gutierrez worked for Dollar Tree, earning the titles of store manager and district trainer. But four years ago, despite his success with the company, Gutierrez felt a sense of discontent. He began exploring the possibility of going to college and changing his career path. Gutierrez enrolled in evening class at the South Texas College Mid-Valley Campus in Weslaco. Two years later, after completing…

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From Restaurant Cook to Patient Care

Juan de la Rosa

Juan de la Rosa of Donna was working as a cook at Longhorn Steakhouse when he decided to pursue a career in a high-demand field where he could earn more money while helping people. He decided to enroll at South Texas College in the Patient Care Technician Program. In this program, de la Rosa knew he would also be taught entry-level skills in phlebotomy, EKG and monitor technician. While enrolling…

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Army Vet Feels Secure on Path to Success

Bardo Rubio

When Bardo Rubio completed his commitment to the U.S. Army, he enlisted in the Army Reserve. He knew he would need to do more than work one weekend a month to achieve his life goals. During the summer of 2018, shortly after he returned from active duty, Rubio encountered two Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement employees promoting the agency’s services at South Texas College. Rubio, who wanted to go…

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Financial Stability Offers Cindy Monge a New VIDA

Cindy Monge, VIDA

Working in sales provided Cindy Monge with a job but not with financial stability. She established a long-term goal of earning a bachelor’s degree in perfusion science. As a perfusionist, Monge would run the cardiopulmonary-bypass machine during open-heart surgery, allowing the heart to be still for the surgeon while the machine performs its job, maintaining blood flow to the body’s tissues. Monge also established a short-term goal that would align…

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A Mother’s Guide to Empowering Her Daughter

Vyktoria Olivares and her daughter

At the age of 18, instead of being consumed with thoughts of college dorms and freedom, Vyktoria Olivares’ thoughts focused on her infant daughter. How would she raise her alone while pursuing her goal of being the first in her family to graduate from college? She knew she had to leave the pain of the past behind. She had to focus on what she could do in the present to…

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Mentoring and Accountability Make All the Difference

Erika Elizondo

Single mom Erika Elizondo was working as a front-desk receptionist less than two years ago at a resort on South Padre Island. She was earning $9.30 an hour when a friend told her about Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement.  “I was always interested in the medical field to help relieve people’s suffering,” Elizondo said. “I chose Emergency Medical Science because of the fast pace, I love the adrenaline rush.”  There…

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Mere Coincidence or Serendipitous?

Maria Herrera, an RN at Edinburg Regional Medical Center, with Tony Aguirre after their serendipitous meeting.

For a week in early February, McAllen businessman and City of McAllen Public Utilities Vice Chairman Tony Aguirre spent countless hours at Edinburg Regional Medical Center where his mom was a patient. He watched TV with her and sang conjunto songs playing on his phone’s Pandora app with her. He monitored her vitals while she slept and had conversations with all of the medical professionals treating her. One of the…

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VIDA Nurse’s Budding Career Path

Aime Bautista, who graduated from South Texas College in Dec. 2019 with an associate’s degree in nursing, holds a candle at STC’s ceremony recognizing new nurses. The candle, when lit, is symbolic of a nurse passing on the flame of hope, service, compassion and peace.

Aime Bautista was a single mother of an 8-year-old daughter, working as a sales associate and earning $8.25 per hour. A lifelong resident of Mercedes who was raised by her grandparents, Bautista and her daughter were living with her grandmother.   In the summer of 2019, Bautista gave birth to another daughter and no longer had a job. A student in the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement told Bautista about…

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