While VIDA provides the financial support and counseling services instrumental to our participants' success, it is our close collaborative efforts with our education, workforce, city government, corporate and private foundation partners that allow us to transform lives in the Valley.

Vida Proud Partners

VIDA, one of nine programs from across the nation, was selected in 2011 as a key partner for the nationwide Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self Sufficiency (ISIS) evaluation project. ISIS is providing a rigorous evaluation of next-generation strategies for increasing the economic self-sufficiency of low-income individuals and families. The project is evaluating nine innovative workforce training approaches aimed at increasing access and completion of post secondary career pathways across the US. The ISIS grant was awarded to Abt & Associates, a leader in research based in Maryland and is fully funded by the U.S. Health and Human Services Planning, Research and Evaluation Office of the Administration for Children and Families.

VIDA was chosen because our innovative and comprehensive strategies have resulted in high graduation rates and in helping disadvantaged adults access college-level training. ISIS is particularly interested in VIDA because the program holds great promise for impacting policy makers and funders. An ISIS test of VIDA will contribute to understanding the extent to which providing strong educational, personal, and financial supports helps motivated low-income individuals attain high-wage jobs and supply skilled workers in areas of the economy with skill shortages. In addition, our sister organizations in Tucson, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, and Louisiana have similarly high success rates and share the program delivery model used at VIDA. Policy makers and practitioners have grown increasingly interested in these efforts, and as such, VIDA's participation in this project will provide highly credible findings which may be applied to other organizations and those interested in further replicating the model.

An exciting aspect of the ISIS evaluation is that national & local funders are stepping up and investing in the expansion of VIDA's program model in the Rio Grande Valley.

Open Society Foundations
The Open Society Foundations (OSF) was the first funder to invest in the 250 participants who we are enrolling in VIDA and the ISIS Project. Their very generous grant over the next two years was made through Abt Associates, the coordinator of ISIS. OSF works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, OSF seeks to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the OSF implements a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. OSF places a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.
Investor and philanthropist George Soros established the Open Society Foundations, starting in 1984, to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. OSF activities have grown to encompass the United States and more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Jobs For The Future
South Texas College (STC), Workforce Solutions LRGV and VIDA partnered in 2009 on a pilot project funded by Jobs for the Future. This Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) Career Pathway has provided 24 individuals the opportunity to prepare concurrently for a GED and a Certified Nursing Assistant license. Participants then progress seamlessly into a concurrent curriculum for Patient Care Assistant Certificate and a hybrid of the College Prep Academy to prepare for the college entrance exam. Once completed, this accelerated program design leads participants directly into the LVN program.

The average age of the participants in this pilot is 36 years old and 75% are first generation immigrants from Mexico. This unique program allows individuals, who are not English proficient, the chance to start with a GED and propel forward toward an LVN career pathway. We are proud to report that nearly three years into the partnership, there is an 83% retention rate. Jobs for the Future identifies, develops and promotes new education and workforce strategies that help communities, states and the nation compete in a global economy. Jobs for the Future improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.

Partners for Postsecondary Success
For generations of Americans, the high school diploma delivered on the value of an education. It gave you a ticket to the American Dream. That meant a steady job to support your family and a chance to launch a career. But now, high school is no longer enough. The median wage for workers with no college is now close to the poverty line for a family of four. That leaves only one path out of poverty: education—a college education. Whether it comes as a Certificate, an Associate's degree, or a Bachelor's degree, a postsecondary credential is the best bridge between poor students and good jobs.

The Partners for Postsecondary Success (PPS), an MDC Initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation recognizes the seriousness of the fact that while college enrollment has grown nearly 35 percent since the 1970's, college completion rates have faltered dramatically during the same time period. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has allocated funds to various organizations including PPS to address the problem of young people enrolling in college but failing to get a certificate or degree. The PPS team is led by the United Way of Brownsville and includes the Brownsville Independent School District, University of Texas–Brownsville, Texas Southmost College, the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, Brownsville Economic Development Corporation and VIDA. The PPS-Brownsville's plan was funded and the work has commenced to double the number of young adults (ages 16-26) who earn a postsecondary credential with labor market value by 2025.

Cities, Economic Development Corporations & State
Brownsville Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation
CAIP (DOL – Federal)
City of Combes
City of Weslaco
Edinburg Economic Development Corporation
Harlingen Economic Development Corporation
Hidalgo County
HPRP (HUD-Federal)
La Feria Economic Development Corporation 
McAllen Economic Development Corporation
Mercedes Economic Development Corporation
Mission Economic Development Authority
Pharr Economic Development Corporation
Port Isabel Economic Development Corporation
State of Texas JET Fund Cameron County
State of Texas JET Fund Low Rio Grande Valley
Weslaco Economic Development Corporation
Willacy County
Educational Partners  
South Texas College
Texas State Technical College
The University of Texas-Pan American
The University of Texas at Brownsville
Texas Southmost College    
Funding Partners Over the Past 5 Yrs
(Current Funders Bolded)
Abt/Open Society Foundation
AEP Texas Central Company
Allstate Foundation
Annie E. Casey Foundation
BBVA Compass Bank
Capital One
City of Brownsville (CDBG)
City of Brownsville (GBIC)
City of Hidalgo
City of La Feria
City of McAllen Homeless Prevention / Rapid Re-Housing Program
City of Mercedes
City of Mission
City of Pharr
City of Port Isabel
City of Weslaco
County of Hidalgo
Earl C. Sams Foundation
Edinburg EDC
Greater Texas Foundation
Harlingen EDC
Job for the Future (JFF) STC
JP Morgan Chase
La Feria IDC
McAllen EDC
Mission EDA North American Development Bank-CAIP
Pharr EDC
Port Isabel
San Juan EDC
San Juan Nursing Home
South Texas College, VIDA and DOL “CIT Program” community base training
Stronger Together Initiative (STI)
Texas Guaranteed Student Loan (TG Grant)
The Kresge Foundation
The Meadows Foundation
The Raul Tijerina Jr.
The Trull Foundation TJX Foundation Basic Skills Initiative
Town of Combes
Urban County Program Homeless Prevention/Rapid Re-Housing Program
Weslaco EDC
Willacy County

Collaborative Partners

Valley Interfaith
(Non-profit organization) will work in partnership with VIDA to secure other funding for the project, recruit project participants, and recruit employers.

Workforce Solutions - Hidalgo County, Workforce Solutions Cameron
(Public workforce investment systems) will assist with recruiting project participants, identifying demands in the workforce and employment support in emerging green industries and/or incremental training for incumbent workers. Whenever possible and with joint assessment, our respective teams will labor to leverage resources to best meet the needs of the participants served in this proposal.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Independent Electrical Contractors, National Association Plumbing, Heating and Cooling contractors of American
(Labor organization / employers) will train area residents in the electrical and plumbing apprenticeship programs. Their memberships will provide the On the Job Training component, and will ultimately be a reliable and dependable source of employment for the graduates

Starr County; Hidalgo County; Willacy, Starr, and Cameron County
(public sector / employers) will assist VIDA with public services announcements for recruiting and training participants and employers. Moreover, this region has received ARRA monies for weatherization. , Therefore, the counties of Hidalgo, Cameron, Starr and Willacy will make reasonable efforts to make use of the various training services offered under this grant as may be appropriate for certain jobs within each county.

The North American Advanced Manufacturing Research & Education Initiative(NAAMREI)
is devoted to developing a world-class advanced manufacturing industry in the Rio South Texas Region. NAAMREI combines the innovation, talents and strategy of more than 60 partners in business, education, economic development, industry, finance and government to offer manufactures across North America, and the globe, access to proprietary, world-class advanced manufacturing and rapid response manufacturing.

Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA) helps low-income, unemployed and underemployed Rio Grande Valley residents get the training they need to secure a high-skilled, high-wage job. © Copyright 2018 Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA)