Tag Archives: VIDA

Making the Impossible Possible

Jorge Sanchez thought he had the perfect plan in place after graduating from high school. He earned a scholarship to St. Edward’s University in Austin, where he planned to major in biology with a concentration in biological sciences. But as he calculated the cost for tuition, room and board, and books, Sanchez realized this plan did not make financial sense. “Even though I was given a scholarship to study at…

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Overcoming Adversity for a Better VIDA

Eva Alvarado

When the staff at Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement think of Eva Alvarado, two words come to mind: perseverance and resilience. Alvarado is a divorced mother of three, two who are adults and now live on their own. Her youngest, a 14-year-old son, lives with her in Brownsville. Two years ago, her youngest was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, dyslexia and autism. Alvarado quit working because he required all…

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Path Leads to Becoming the IT It Guy

Jose Cavazos

When Jose Cavazos’s co-worker at Barcom Technology Services in Harlingen told him they had a service call at the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement office in Mercedes, he felt a sense of both nostalgia and excitement. Cavazos had considered stopping in VIDA’s former office in Weslaco several times, but it was always closed by the time he got out of work. “As soon as we walked into the building,”…

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From Catch-22 To A Successful Career

Sometimes life plunges us into a classic catch-22. That is exactly where Cesar Romero found himself. Working as a nurse technician, Romero was earning $11 an hour. In order to increase his income, he applied to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Learning that the program required full-time-student status peppered his joy at being accepted. He could not afford to pay…

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VIDA Receives $75K From The Meadows Foundation

VIDA/Meadows Foundation

The Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement is the recipient of a $75,000 grant from the Meadows Foundation. The funds will train low-income women in high-demand jobs. Algur H. Meadows established General American Oil Company of Texas in 1939. He then led it to become one of the nation’s most successful independent oil-and-gas-production companies. Meadows and his wife, Virginia, returned their blessings by establishing The Meadows Foundation in 1948. The…

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Connecting The Valley To Better Opportunities

Isidro Ramos, workforce development manager, works with a VIDA student as part of individual case management the workforce training provides. (Courtesy)

The Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement has proven to be a nimble workforce training program. In 25-plus years, it has been helping unemployed and underemployed residents land better-paying jobs. It demonstrated that again recently when VIDA launched an electrician journeyman training program. Administrators at VIDA see the Liquefied Natural Gas project coming closer to reality at the Port of Brownsville. They recognize there is a growing market for electricians.…

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One Door Closes, Another VIDA Opens

Etta King has a better life for her and her children thanks in part to VIDA.

Life was good for Etta King when she moved to Weslaco in 2011 from Lake Tahoe, Cali. Five years later, her world turned upside down. Her husband left, creditors repossessed her car and eviction forced her to move from their home to a small apartment. With no money, she had to attend divorce court without legal representation. Her only family in the Valley consisted of her two sons and daughter.…

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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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