Enhancing Student Outcomes With Organizational Professional Development At RGVCareers
The recent growth and expansion of the RGV Careers campus has highlighted the expanded opportunities for current and potential students of the organization. However, the growth has not only been in size. RGV Careers has made it a policy to encourage personal and intellectual growth in their students as well as the faculty and sta that serve them.
With her lengthy background in education, the director of RGV Careers, Anabelle Palomo, is no stranger to the concept of professional development for teachers and how it can ultimately improve outcomes for the students. One of the approaches they take is expanding the leadership skills of the sta and faculty through book studies.
“ The books that we’ve selected are based on personal growth, growth as an organization, working as a team, and leadership,” Palomo said. e purpose is to show the sta the importance of continued growth. “Maybe someone in the nancial aid o ce hasn’t read a book since high school. Reading develops them to another level, whether it was personal growth or how to work as a team. e knowledge base is being developed within the whole organization.”
According to Palomo, sta development looks di erent for each person; it is based on what their passion is. “It has to be what they want to do.” She says they have books that develop discussion and stretch their thinking,and develop trust.“Within our organization we are holding each other accountable and I have seen them grow. Every day our purpose is to grow as professionals.”
Claudia Gonzales-Paredes, the director of the Vocational Nursing program at RGV Careers, agrees that the book studies are having an impact on the people at RGV Careers. “I think the di erence between RGV Careers and a lot of other organizations is the culture. We have the culture of empowering our sta with self-development. We encourage growing yourself and learning how to grow.”
Beyond the book studies, some of the sta have been inspired to continue their academic education. Mary Williams, the assistant director of nurses in the Vocational Nursing Program, has been with RGV Careers since 2009. “I found my niche here since the very rst year,” she says, and has been a vocational nurse for 18 years. She now plans on working toward becoming a registered nurse. “I want to be able to set the example for students and show that even in a leadership position in a successful program, there is always opportunity to grow.” With the belief that a good leader shows you what to do rather than telling you what to do, she is excited to take her next step academically and whatever may come after that. “I’m ready to go back and I’m ready to prepare myself for the next level of leadership within the company, whether it’s assisting our director or taking another leadership role,” Williams said. “I want to contribute to the community, and give back to the education of individuals who don’t think they have an opportunity, especially those of us in the Hispanic community.”
Gonzalez-Paredes has been inspired to continue her education since day one with RGV Careers. She started with an associate degree in nursing and recently completed her bachelor of science in nursing. After getting more educational experience teaching maternity and pediatrics, she transitioned into the position of director of the vocational nursing program.
However, she realized over time that she would need extra education to continue in her career. She wanted to live up to the high standards they were asking of the students and felt a responsibility to her students as well.
“ Tere have been many people in my life that have told me I needed to continue my education because someone with a higher degree would come take my job, but my thinking at the time was that gaining experience was enough,” she said. “As time went on I realized that to be really be prepared for the position at hand, you also needed a formal education.” Inspired by Dr. Palomo’s education level, Gonzalez- Parades’s next step is a Master’s Degree, which she says RGV Careers has supported every step of the way.
“Dr. Palomo and I both look at it as a win-win situation,” Gonzalez-Paredes said. “Dr. Palomo sees the value of personal and academic development for her sta because it is going to bene t the organization in the end. What I bring to the organization will bene t the students, the sta , the faculty and the Valley.” Her continuing education only strengthens
RGV Careers, which in turn empowers students in the Valley to continue their education.
Following the director’s example, Gonzalez- Paredes uses performance evaluations of her sta in order to help pinpoint opportunities for continued development. She wants to know what they want and where they are headed. “If you don’t give them opportunity, they are going to nd opportunity elsewhere,”she said. e book studies and evaluations are an e ort to o er these personal development opportunities without pushing it on them. “Growth can’t be forced.”
“ The point is to bene t our students,” Palomo said. “I feel accomplished when our students receive their certi cates. ose are our success stories.”
To learn more about RGV Careers, call
(956) 781-6800 or visit www.rgvcareers.edu