McAllen, TX is Growing with Opportunity

Health care, IT, retail among top sectors for jobs in McAllen, TX.

By
Bill Lewis
On Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 15:03
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A powerful combination of strengths, including a diverse economy, an affordable cost of living, a comfortable climate, and a welcoming culture is making McAllen a magnet for entrepreneurs and growing businesses as well as the talented employees who make them successful.

CNN, Fortune and others consistently place McAllen near the top of their rankings of the best places in America to retire, raise a family, find career opportunities or start a business.

McAllen is located at the heart of one of the fastest growing regions in the country. The 2017 Census placed the McAllen MSA at 860,661, a 9.5% increase over 2010.

More than the population is surging. Opportunities for businesses and workers are growing, too. A variety of services offer practical help to entrepreneurs ready to launch a new business. Other services connect growing businesses with employees looking for economic opportunities.

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Walmart Inc.

Workforce Training

A recent example is the City of McAllen’s partnership with Workforce Solutions (WFS) for training in the growing fields of law enforcement, health care and information technology.

“Workforce Solutions’ goal is to ensure that McAllen employers from the health care, law enforcement and information technology industries are able to fill their high-demand employment positions with participants who are enrolled in or have completed a training program,” says WFS CEO Francisco Almaraz. “Programs like these allow the community to grow from within, allowing a skilled workforce to develop.”

WFS, operating under the direction of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), serves a region that includes Hidalgo County and relies on a network of partners. The primary goal of TWC and the 28 local workforce development boards throughout the state is to respond to the needs of Texas employers and workers with locally designed, market-driven workforce development initiatives.

Looking for Workers

“WFS works to identify target and in-demand occupations within the Rio Grande Valley. Based on the skill demands that businesses/employers have identified, we have populated a list of trainings for select occupations for which we can provide payment assistance,” says Mike Gonzalez, communications specialist in the McAllen corporate office of WFS.

Many of those jobs are in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). They include nurses, medical and surgical assistants, pharmacy technicians and a wide range of positions in the health care industry. Others include computer support, aircraft and auto mechanics, computer-controlled machine tool operators and more.

Career opportunities are also prevalent here in the expanding sectors of education, business services, retail and manufacturing. Government has remained the largest growing sector in McAllen’s MSA, with more than 3,000 additions in one month alone. Other strong sectors include trade and utilities.

During the holiday shopping season, the MSA sees “a boom in growth…as we generally see hires preparing for the influx of commerce we get from our international visitors,” Gonzalez says.

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Greg Mooney/Home Depot

Making Connections

Located only eight miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, McAllen is the retailing center of South Texas and Northern Mexico, drawing from a consumer base of more than 10 million people within a 200-mile radius. The retail sector grew 138% over the last 10 years to more than $7.1 billion and employs 27% of the workforce.

Matching employers and employees is Workforce Solutions’ fulltime mission. The organization seeks to provide job seekers with the skills and businesses with the talent they need to be successful.

“With that in mind, WFS works with employers to provide practical solutions to their problems, whether it be related to recruitment assistance or implementing work experience programs. For job seekers, we utilize the latest tools provided by the Texas Workforce Commission to facilitate job searches and strategies,” Gonzalez says. “Additionally, child care payment assistance is a benefit available to eligible job seekers. Once an individual is employed, child care can become a barrier. We aim to close the gap between job seekers and their employers to ensure that Rio Grande Valley job seekers can serve to the best of their capabilities.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Lewis is an award-winning business journalist whose work has appeared in publications across the United States.