Post-Grad Choices: Valley Grande Institute’s Opportunities for High School Graduates


One of the most important decisions high school graduates have to make is their career choice. For those students with a career goal in mind, higher education is the answer. Unfortunately, an estimated 50% of the youth living in the Valley graduate with no goal or career choice in mind.

Because graduates don’t know what to do next, they often end up in low-paying jobs with little to no hope for a successful career. They may struggle financially, and once they marry and have a family, their family may struggle as well.

Valley Grande Institute, a post-secondary school in Weslaco focusing on healthcare programs, wants to change that. They have implemented a community outreach effort to alert high school graduates that a higher education can be their ticket to a successful career.

Become A Medical Professional

Valley Grande Institute President and CEO Anabell Cardona says VGI offers students an opportunity to pursue an exciting, promising career in the medical field. Students can become one of the following medical professionals:

  • Patient Care Technician
  • Vocational Nurse
  • Massage Therapist
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Insurance Coder & Billing Technician
  • LMRT/Phlebotomy Technician
  • LMRT/Electrocardiogram Technician

A career as a medical professional is rewarding. It’s an opportunity to help people, to learn a new and vital skill, and to make an important contribution to the community. It also enables one to earn a good living and provide their family with a consistent and secure future.

Demand for healthcare support staff is on the rise. With an aging population, more people will need health care in the coming years. Recent health care reform is also increasing the demand for medical services and healthcare workers.

The American Medical News reports that medical practices more than tripled their hiring rates in the first quarter of 2014 over the same period in 2013. This means medical facilities will need to hire more physician assistants, nurses, and other skilled workers to meet the increased demand.

Since its inception in 1992, VGI has trained scores of medical professionals. Their goal is to prepare students for the most in-demand jobs in healthcare.

Since Valley Grande Institute specializes ONLY in healthcare education, its healthcare training is second to none.

VGI Community Outreach Activities

To emphasize the importance of higher education and, specifically, education in the medical field, VGI sponsored a High School Hype Game involving the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Texas Legends this past March. The school bussed in more than 200 Mid-Valley high school seniors from Weslaco and surrounding area to enjoy the game – and to learn the importance of higher education.

“We wanted them to be thinking about putting together a plan for after graduation. In order to be successful, you need a plan.” stresses Cardona.

Cardona also dove out of a plane and landed at a Veteran’s Day Celebration sponsored by Weslaco High School’s R.O.T.C. program. Speaking before a high school assembly, the VGI president, alongside Retired Sgt. First Class and motivational speaker Dana Bowman, stressed the importance of freedom and the value of education. Cardona remarked that if she had the courage to jump out of a plane, students shouldn’t be afraid to take on the VGI challenge.

Meanwhile, VGI students spent a day with the Arrive Alive organization to learn about the dangers of drinking or texting while driving. Students pledged to stay sober and not text while driving.  And, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Day, students released hundreds of balloons into the sky during a moment of silence.

In a tribute to military veterans, VGI and the RGV Vipers partnered to say “thanks for your service.” Veterans obtained free tickets to attend any Vipers game sponsored by VGI. At each game, VGI honored one local veteran as its “Hero of the Game,” presenting the hero with four complimentary courtside seats and a moment of recognition during halftime.

VGI again partnered with the Armed Services and Hidalgo County in executing Operation Lone Star, a simulated large-scale medical emergency. For three days, VGI student volunteers provided health care screenings for community members in need of medical attention.

In another effort to better serve the Mid-Valley community, Valley Grande Institute announced it is setting up a new campus in Raymondville.

“Community service and outreach is a top priority for the VGI team, so we take pride in giving the residents of Raymondville the opportunity to reach out and make a difference,” says Cardona.

Call VGI Today

Students who haven’t made a career choice, but are willing to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others in the community – should call VGI today at 956-973-1945. Or, visit their website at for more information.