Our Community

The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) has long been a fertile ground for economic opportunity. As a leading citrus producer with access to the Gulf of Mexico, the region has traditionally relied on farming and tourism. Now, it’s one of the fastest-growing regions in the U.S., home to 1.37 million people along the Texas-Mexico border. Comprised of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties, the RGV is young (median age is 31), Latino (92 percent), multi-lingual and multi-cultural.

The region’s population continues to attract investments that have driven an economic transition from an agriculture-based economy to one that focuses on health and professional services, education, advanced manufacturing, and retail. This shift is part of the reason why educational achievement is crucial. For this generation, earnings, and job security are connected to a higher education degree or certificate. Businesses also seek candidates with these qualifications, and value their contributions. A well-educated workforce will help local businesses, people, and the region as a whole continue to thrive.


Removing Barriers to Achieving Equity

We are achieving great progress in our work to improve educational attainment—and it’s the students, educators, and entire community of the Rio Grande Valley who deserve the credit. Because of their hard work, we’re seeing rising scores in almost every category measured by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Before RGV FOCUS was formed, the region was scoring below State of Texas averages in a number of educational goals set by the TEA. Over the past decade, the strategies we have implemented through RGV FOCUS have helped create a shift in the right direction. RGV learners currently meet or exceed state averages in 9 out of the 12 goals outlined in our 2021 scorecard.

However, there is still work to be done to improve college readiness, enrollment and graduation. Data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shows that public higher education graduation rates for 4-year institutions remain below statewide performance. 

It’s exciting to see our students reaching new milestones in educational attainment, and we are confident these scores will continue to rise with support from RGV FOCUS and our community.