Texas Southmost College to offer classes in Raymondville

RAYMONDVILLE — Texas Southmost College will offer classes here in some of the hottest fields in the area.

The Brownsville-based college will hold local classes leading to associate’s degrees in education, office management and computer information technology beginning this fall, Lina Castillo, executive director of the Raymondville Economic Development Corporation, said yesterday.

The college will also offer basic jail certification courses to help residents land jobs at the proposed detention center expected to open at the site of the former Willacy County Correctional Center.

The EDC board has approved an agreement allowing Texas Southmost College to use offices in the city’s Rural Technical Building to hold its classes.

“Higher education is the foundation of economic development,” Castillo said. “Higher education creates wealth in the community and wealth creates jobs.”

The partnership with the college stems from a Raymondville school district survey that found local teachers’ aides want to complete their degrees to become teachers, said Benjamin Clinton, the district’s special projects director.

Clinton said a study found about 1,000 new teaching jobs are expected to open in the Rio Grande Valley within the next 10 years.

In Raymondville, average teaching jobs pay annual salaries of about $48,000, he said.

“Teacher jobs are the hottest jobs in the Valley,” Clinton said. “We want to make sure we get the workforce trained for the jobs that are coming.”

Castillo said she is working with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to help Texas Southmost College graduates earn bachelor’s degrees.

Administrative assistant jobs are also in big demand in the Valley, Clinton said.

During the next 10 years, he said, about 500 administrative assistant jobs are expected to open.

Texas Southmost College wants “to begin to facilitate the future development of a trained and educated workforce in Raymondville as well as throughout Willacy County,” Mike Shannon, the college’s interim president, wrote Mayor Gilbert Gonzales in a May 13 letter.

“There are countless opportunities for your residents to change their financial trajectory through the pursuit of a college degree or workforce training in high-demand occupations,” Shannon wrote.

By the Numbers

1,000 new teaching jobs to open in the Valley in the next 10 years

500 administrative assistant jobs to open in the next 10 years

Teaching jobs pay average salaries of $48,000 in Raymondville

Texas Southmost College: Associate’s degree options

• Education

• Office management

• Computer information technology