Our philosophy is very simple: A well-trained, well-educated population will not only be ready for tomorrow’s jobs. Rather, they will be able to live a more prosperous, healthy, and happy life. The ultimate goal is job retention–not job placement–which will develop strong citizens who are self-sufficient taxpayers providing a clear return on investment of federal, state, local, and private funding. Our graduates have not only helped the families they support and the businesses that now employ them. Their ability to successfully move from the ranks of the low-income has helped us all. Their increased earnings have also enhanced their contributions to our tax system and reduced their dependence on public welfare. VIDA demonstrates a model for success by graduating participants into high-demand occupations that normally remained unfilled or were filled, at a very high cost, by people from outside our community.
Our mission is to formulate new institutional relationships in the Rio Grande Valley that simultaneously address employers’ needs for skilled workers and prepare the area’s unemployed and underemployed residents with high-skill, high-wage jobs identified in the region.
VIDA’s complete program model of providing the necessary support services, career guidance, intensive case management, and financial assistance, represents the key factor in over 90% average persistence rate success. Monthly case management sessions help students address and overcome emotional challenges, financial struggles, family and life stressors, which empowers participants to remain focused in completing their educational program and graduate on time. In addition, VIDA counselors infuse group sessions with soft-skills training such as general employability, resume preparation and interviewing, financial management, and study skills; these wrap-around services equip VIDA participants with the knowledge, skills, and commitment necessary to enter and succeed in the workforce long-term.
Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA) is a community-based, nonprofit 501 (c)(3) agency. Created in 1995, VIDA is the result of a local effort led by community leaders of Valley Interfaith and private-industry business leaders. The impetus was the need to empower the underserved residents of our region with the tools, education, and training needed to become self-sufficient while fueling the growth of existing employers and increasing recruitment of new investment to the area by developing a highly skilled workforce.
Since its inception, VIDA’s mission has remained constant–to formulate new institutional relationships in the Rio Grande Valley that simultaneously address employers’ needs for skilled workers while linking the area’s unemployed and underemployed with high-skilled, high-wage jobs identified in the region. VIDA works closely with the business sector, training providers, and community-based organizations to develop a skilled workforce that will meet the demands of employers in the Rio Grande Valley.