WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Vicente Gonzalez announced a $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
According to the congressman’s news release the funds will be used to build a facility in the city of Pharr that will be used by UTRGV to expand its School of Nursing. The project is meant to address nursing shortages and allow for the region to prepare for and best respond to COVID-19 and future health-related issues.
The project will be matched with $24 million in local investment and is expected to create 750 jobs and generate $30 million in private investment. The grant will cover the construction of a state-of-the-art facility giving the students a competitive edge, said the news release.
“The city of Pharr remains one of the most innovative cities in South Texas. Although we experienced a tremendous setback with the COVID-19 global pandemic, there were also many things to be learned,” said Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez, Mayor, City of Pharr. “As a surgeon in the region, I personally witnessed the nursing shortage in our hospitals and how that affected the overall care for our patients.”
“We are happy to be involved with the grant and to partner with the City of Pharr to expand UTRGV’s School of Nursing,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey. “One of the university’s top priorities is to serve as a catalyst for improved health care and well-being in South Texas and beyond, and this grant and partnership will allow us to do so.”
Once completed, the project will assist the region with recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic, support the health care industry, bolster job creation, attract private investment and advance economic resiliency throughout the region.