From the smallest one-man business operation to the largest cities in the Rio Grande Valley, the office of Center Operations and Community Services (COSERVE) at The University of Texas Pan American offers a helping hand to communities when in need.
COSERVE, which is housed in the newly constructed International Trade and Technology Building on the south east side of the campus, serves as an umbrella operation to a number of special centers that provide services and support to business, governmental entities and individuals in the community.
Roland S. Arriola, executive director of COSERVE, said the program is designed to promote growth, expansion, innovation and increased productivity and improve management skills in economic development, job creation and economic growth in the Rio Grande Valley.
"UTPA has been a regional institution for many years, and we have many experts in many areas here,'' Arriola said. "For us not to be involved in the community would be wrong."
According to Arriola, the Rio Grande Valley has the highest incidence of unemployment and poverty and the lowest per capita income in the nation.
"To meet the public service mission, the university must develop new programs and deliver systems that address major issues affecting the region," Arriola said.
Edinburg City Mayor Joe Ochoa said the program has provided a tremendous service to the community of Edinburg.
"COSERVE has giving the city of Edinburg great economic opportunities. If COSERVE wasn't around, smaller cities wouldn't be able to take advantage of the type of technical expertise that COSERVE has to offer," Ochoa said.
COSERVE is comprised of 15 different centers including:
The Center for Continuing Education was established in 1992 for the purpose of extending the university's educational resources beyond the traditional student body to the greater community by offering a wide range of continuing and professional education opportunities in the areas of skill development, career development, professional development and personal enrichment. These opportunities are available through seminars, short courses, workshops and customized employee training.
CCE is organized around four programs areas: Community Education, Professional Development, CompuLab and the English Language Institute.
The Community Education Program offers short courses for personal and professional enrichment for individuals and public and private school district personnel. Examples of participants include educational counselors, school nurses, social workers, teaching professionals, substitute teachers, teacher aides and administrators, as well as the general public.
The Professional Development Program offers opportunities for individuals in the Rio Grande Valley to earn professional continuing education units (CEUs) in the areas of health education, management and manufacturing.
Certificate programs are also available for travel careers, paralegals, medical assistance, management and manufacturing industry. Customized training tailored to specific client needs is a large part of the activities in this program area.
CompuLab is a multimedia computer lab for basics and advanced software application training. Each workstation is ergonomically designed for maximum comfort and learning. Participants can take individual courses for personal needs or work toward a Certificate of Proficiency in Workplace Applications. Short intensive courses are offered days, evenings and weekends, allowing for flexible scheduling. Customized courses tailored to specific needs are also available.
The English Language Institute was established in 1982 to prepare students to enter an academic program with academically oriented English, assist professionals and business people in career-oriented English and offer all participants the opportunity to learn functional use of the English language.
The Small Business Development Center promotes growth, expansion, innovation, increased productivity and improved management skills for small business in the Lower Rio Grande Valley service area through counseling, technical assistance, training seminars and workshops, advocacy, research studies, resource information and coordination with the US Small Business Administration and other community business support services.
Data and Information Systems Center is the storehouse and provider of timely, relevant and quality data about the people and economy of the Southwest Border Region.
Southwest Border Nonprofit Resource Center serves as the catalyst for sustainable, long-term development of nonprofit organizations in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas.
Mexican Business Information Center provides the client with comprehensive information on Mexico to enable them to make better decisions and facilitate accurate analysis of Mexican market potentials
Industrial Partnership Center assists manufacturers and suppliers by providing assistance to aid them in qualifying as vendors in a global manufacturing environment; also supports the post-secondary and secondary education systems in the area of advanced technical training, partnering with colleges and universities to provide training, services and assistance to students.
Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development serves as a catalyst for business and economic development, job creation and income growth by providing broad range of technical and educational assistance targeted to businesses, public officials, economic development organizations and the community in general.
The International Trade and Technology Center promotes international trade through the use of technology and provides access to a variety of managerial, research and technical services designed to promote international commerce.
Minority Business Opportunity Committee creates opportunities (procurement and international trade) for minority entrepreneurs.
One Stop Capital Shop seeks to grow businesses and create jobs in the Empowerment Zone and maximize business success by coupling financial programs with managerial and technical assistance.
Economic Development Administration University Center serves as a catalyst to assist distressed communities in achieving their long-term competitive economic potential through the strategic investment of resources.
Center for Local Government works to increase the capacity of local governments (counties and cities) and special districts in the Rio Grande Valley to more efficiently manage scarce public resources and to meet the present and future problems in a positive, creative and constructive manner.
Center for Manufacturing provides assistance to current and prospective manufacturers through the utilization of services available from the center and from academic, industrial, governmental or private sources; also facilitates faculty research, providing training, experience and employment for students.
Community Outreach Partnership Center mobilizes university resources to act as catalyst for economic and community development in South Texas' rural communities known as colonias.
National Center of Excellence is a USDA funded project to help build community capacity in the Empowerment Zone of the Rio Grande Valley.