Harlingen sits at the center of the Rio Grande Valley, offering major advantages in order to attract people and, more importantly, businesses. In a new video series, Harlingen Economic Development Corporation will introduce the many ways the organization works within the community in order to make it a better place to live, work, play, and do business.
The Choose Harlingen video series will cover various topics that include health care in Harlingen, workforce, education, connectivity, opening a business in Harlingen, and a basic introduction to what the Harlingen EDC does.
The first episode featured Selene Guerrero, Harlingen EDC marketing manager, Mayor Chris Boswell, and board members Michael Allex, an architect, and Ricky Leal, a banker. The group touched upon various topics that will be further expanded on in future episodes.
“Our focus in economic development is to improve on the economic stability and quality of life in a community,” Guerrero explained.
It is not possible to attract higher-paying jobs or people to invest in a community if there aren’t constant improvements to our quality of life, Boswell added.
“That is where the city comes in — to have good infrastructure and that we work to have good planning in bringing businesses to our community,” he said. “We have to do all those other things together to attract businesses to our community.”
Education is a major component that aids in improving a community and works in tandem with producing a quality workforce. Here in Harlingen, residents have the option to learn and grow in their community. From grade school all the way to medical school, it’s possible to do it all in Harlingen.
Educational institutions like Harlingen CISD, Texas State Technical College, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Wayland Baptist University, and Texas A&M University-Kingsville create a qualified talent pipeline that strengthens the workforce for those target industries desirable to the area.
This region focuses on attracting manufacturing, health care, aerospace, alternative energy, and logistic industries. The healthcare industry in Harlingen and the Rio Grande Valley has grown over the years and has resulted in more than 40% of job creation in the last decade.
The healthcare system in Harlingen is an important part of the city’s economy, Boswell said. One of the biggest employers is Valley Baptist Medical Center, employing more than 1,600 people. Not too far behind is Harlingen Medical Center, employing close to 1,000 people.
The aerospace industry is also on the rise in Cameron County, with major companies like United Launch Alliance (ULA), located in Harlingen for more than 30 years, and SpaceX in Brownsville.
ULA is a longstanding joint venture with Boeing and Lockheed Martin and has delivered more than 145 satellites into orbit, providing capabilities for U.S. military forces, aid in tracking weather, and enabling personal device-based GPS. The company builds major components for the Atlas V rocket that are shipped off for final assembly in Alabama. ULA employs more than a 100 highly skilled employees right here in Harlingen.
From roads, rail, air, and water, Harlingen’s connectivity helps drive business in the city.
“We also have the number one airport in South Texas,” Leal said, adding to the list of benefits Harlingen has to offer.
And continued growth can also be seen on the retail and commercial side.
“In the last 10 years, retail has grown exponentially,” Allex said, adding that there has also been an increased growth in Downtown Harlingen.
The boost in retail activity, despite a pandemic, along with a robust workforce, world-class educational system, and a business-friendly environment, are what this new video series will highlight. The series will drive one point across: Many businesses have decided to Choose Harlingen because of all that this thriving community has to offer.