Sul Ross State University and Middle Rio Grande Workforce Solutions (MRGWFS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during a virtual meeting Tuesday.

Sul Ross President Pete Gallego and Rick Zamarripa, Executive Director of the Workforce Solutions Middle Rio Grande Board, took part in Tuesday’s signing.

“Today’s virtually agreed-to MOU is historic – and it marks the first of many mutual endeavors by Sul Ross, Middle Rio Grande Work Force Solutions, and other partners to bring needed help to area small businesses,” Gallego said. “The agreement will provide resources to train small businessmen and women, as well as their employees, on how to survive and prosper in the new environment brought on by COVID-19.”

“Count on Sul Ross to be a willing and enthusiastic partner as we work, strengthen and rebuild our regional economy,” he said.

MRGWFS applied for a Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Fund grant to help businesses in the middle Rio Grande region resume operations during COVID-19 recovery.

Elizabeth Peña, Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center at Sul Ross, submitted a proposal to MRGWFS to contract as a third-party provider to deliver trainings. The education plan consists of a six-class track for employees to strengthen skills and another six-class track for supervisors and small business owners.

“I submitted a proposal on behalf of the Sul Ross SBDC and amid steep competition, we were awarded the contract,” said Peña .

Peña said certified SBDC business advisors will help businesses with the application process and MRGWFS and the Texas Workforce Commission will certify the businesses before they are allowed to sign up for the two-hour virtual live trainings via a portal.

“I felt that this was the perfect time to include President Gallego in the MOU signing to show how strong the partnerships are between Sul Ross and other state agencies,” Peña said following Tuesday’s signing.

She added that the trainings will help business owners retool staff/employees with relevant and useful trainings as well as assist businesses in compiling useful financial documents with a SBDC certified business advisor, “to help them with their growth and planning,” she said.

For more information, contact Peña at (830) 758-5020 or email epena@sulross.edu.