RGV Focus is a collective impact initiative founded in 2012 focused on improving college readiness, access, and success in the four counties of the Rio Grande Valley: Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy. Supported as an initiative of Educate Texas, RGV Focus convenes dozens of private, public, and social sector partners including all K-12 school districts, five higher education partners, and several community and business organizations. The Valley is home to the nation’s largest dual credit/dual enrollment program and the largest community college in South Texas, providing opportunities to apply system-level strategies at scale.
Working closely with three higher education institutions, the Rio Grande Valley Talent Hub identified and engaged over 11,000 students who have some college credit but had yet to complete a credential. By providing advising services and coordinating wrap-around supports, nearly 30% of these students re-enrolled in higher education over a three-year period. Information provided by these students on how to improve retention supports is being used to develop new system-level policy and practice change, reducing stop-out rates among partner higher education institutions.
One-year impact of Reverse Transfer
In the first year of implementing a new reverse transfer policy, 334 individuals earned their first degree. The initial result amounts to exceeding their goal by over 700% and out-performs other first-year results from reverse transfer initiatives around the country.
Building from their foundation as a cradle-to-career collective impact organization, RGV Focus support several strategies to increase the number of high-quality postsecondary degrees and credentials that are awarded in high school. By supporting the nation’s largest dual credit/dual enrollment program, increasing the number of P-TECH and T-STEM schools, and integrating credentials in CTE coursework, the Rio Grande Valley Talent Hub provides ample opportunities for youth to earn a degree or credential prior to high school graduation.
Working closely with WE CAN TX, RGV Focus convenes employer and postsecondary partners to develop apprenticeship programs and pathways that lead to careers in high-demand fields. Working collaboratively to meet the talent demands in the healthcare, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and skilled trades sectors, the group collaborates to remove barriers, provide resources, and create stackable pathways for those entering and exiting apprenticeship programs.