Center becomes reality
Mission EDC will lease state-of-the-art building to local entrepreneurs
BY BERENICE GARCIA
MISSION — Among community leaders and in the new Center for Education and Economic Development, Olmo Maldonado, president and co-founder of Code RGV, was presented with a $150,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission for software development training.
The commission’s High Demand Job Training Program is meant to support collaborations between workforce development boards and economic development corporations to provide training in high-demand areas to local communities.
Code RGV launched the first coding boot camp in the Rio Grande Valley. It trains students during an intensive 12-week program. The agency partnered with the Mission EDC to launch the boot camp, which will be held at the new CEED building.
In what also served as an inauguration of the building, local leaders involved in making the center a reality were present to mark the occasion, including Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, State Rep. Oscar Longoria and representatives from Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz’s office.
The center is a 55,000-squarefoot space near city hall. The owner of the building asked the EDC to help him find a business to lease it, but the only interest came from dollar stores, according to Alex Meade, president and CEO of the EDC.
Instead, the EDC decided to lease it and transform the former K-Mart into a place where local entrepreneurs could rent office space.
The result is a state-of-the-art building with 23 offices, classrooms and a lecture hall.
Above and below, the new Center for Education and Economic Development building is seen Thursday in Mission.
Photos by Delcia Lopez | email@example.com
The center is a result of an overhaul of the Mission EDC that began five years ago. With a clean slate on their hands, they decided to survey the community to find out what it wanted out of the EDC.
“Basically, they wanted us to invest local,” Meade said.
The EDC began Ruby Red Ventures, a program that awards $100,000 a year to local businesses. However, many participants in the program didn’t know how to incorporate technology into their business plans, so the EDC launched Code the Town in 2014, an initiative to teach computer programming.
A need for space to teach programming was one of the reasons the EDC decided to lease the building and create the CEED.
“It takes a team to do what Alex and the EDC has done,” said Mission City Manager Martin Garza.
“When we think about economic development, we think bringing in a restaurant, bringing in franchises, bringing in a hotel, but we forget the fundamentals,” he said. “Alex has been able to hit those points every time: education, entrepreneurship, technology — those are the three things that are going to be taught in this facility.”
The new Center for Education and Economic Development building is seen Thursday in Mission.
Delcia Lopez | firstname.lastname@example.org