McALLEN — A new international partnership aims at better preparing those seeking manufacturing jobs on either side of the border by sharing assets between colleges.
A partnership between South Texas College and Instituto Tecnológico de Reynosa (Technological Institute of Reynosa) was recently finalized aiming at opening a pipeline so that students and teachers can transfer between campuses to learn skills needed on the border region.
“They are a major producer of engineers in Mexico, so anybody who wants to pursue an engineering degree in a bilingual manner would be able to do that,” said Mario Reyna, dean for Business and Technology. “We have a common interest in supporting an industry that is part of the community.”
Talks on how to create this connection started about eight years ago, Reyna said, but the two colleges had to follow strict procedures to legally align their needs and wants.
Years ago they realized that the two institutions have a shared goal of catering to the manufacturing industry and tackle it from similar aspects.
But STC has credentials in automation systems that are unique for the region. These are certifications that students and teachers could use in order to fill those needs on the Mexican side of the border, he said, just as the institute offers degrees in engineering that students from the U.S. could benefit from pursuing.
“We have unique programs that have unique accreditations,” Reyna said. “We are one of the few institutions in the state of Texas to have those particular credentials.”
Reyna referred to manufacturing credentials such as those required to operate Festo equipment — a world-renowned automation and technology supplier. If the institute wanted to apply for those credentials, faculty would first need to be accredited, he explained.
These and other certifications are offered though STC’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing.
“The main emphasis is to pursue the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing,” Reyna said. “We can help them in whatever manner they want us to and then we are thinking they can help us, so that we can understand a little bit better what is going on in Reynosa.”
Private companies from across the Valley partner with the college to send their employees to the center in order to get them certified in the latest machinery and promote within the company.
The same model would be utilized to cater to the Instituto Tecnológico, Reyna explained, as they will meet in upcoming weeks to decide which programs or projects they plan to focus on first.
“Once we meet in the next few weeks the idea would be to have all the details and procedures in place to start probably in the fall,” Reyna said, referring to the fall 2018 semester.
Transferring students from Reynosa that seek to follow a for-credit program would face international-student rates, and those who wish to pursue certifications would pay regular continuing-education fees.
“We feel pleased with the agreement that we have been waiting for (for) eight years,” said Instituto Tecnológico Director Mara Grassiel Acosta Gonzalez in a news release. “Thank you for giving this opportunity to our students and instructors.”