EPCC Hosts Advancing Education, Developing the Workforce & Investing in our Economy Discussion

 El Paso education leaders, philanthropic partners and business and industry leaders joined elected officials yesterday at El Paso Community College’s (EPCC) Arts, Science and Technology Building to discuss the importance of workforce education for the continued success of the El Paso community and economy.

The discussion highlighted examples of how El Paso education and industry leaders are working together to prepare students for meaningful college experiences that prepare them for in-demand careers and learn how our community is amplifying education for a strong Texas workforce during the 2023 legislative session.

The event was presented by Philanthropy Advocates, a Collaboration with Educate Texas and co-hosted by EPCC, Workforce Solutions BorderplexEl Paso Community Foundation, the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation and Paso Del Norte Health Foundation.  The program began with video remarks from Texas Senator César Blanco, who spoke to the importance of advancing workforce education to ensure the Texas economy continues to thrive and communities like El Paso grow and succeed.

“Education is society’s greatest equalizer in the ladder of opportunity for our kids,” said Senator Blanco. It is more important than ever to educate our students and provide quality workforce development in order to strengthen our economy, especially in border communities like El Paso.”

Also in attendance was the Chair of the Texas Commission on Community College Finance, Woody Hunt. Mr. Hunt spoke to the critical importance of community colleges for the future competitiveness of Texas in a global economy.

El Paso business and education leaders also took part in the event. The CEO of Borderplex Workforce Solution, Leila Melendez, discussed the importance of education and workforce alignment. Additionally, Dr. William Serrata of El Paso Community College also spoke on the efforts to invest in and provide programs for student and employer success.

“The strength of a regional economy lies in the regional partners. Collaboration attracts investment, and the Borderplex region has shown great success in matching collaboration with philanthropic investment. I look forward to continually innovating models that work for our region.” said Leila Melendez, CEO of Workforce Borderplex Solutions.

“El Paso Community College is proud to partner with education, philanthropic, and industry leaders to create meaningful college experiences for students that prepare them for in-demand careers,” said Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President. “Together, we are amplifying education for a strong Texas workforce and bolstering our region’s economy.”

Co-hosting the event were El Paso community leaders Stephanie Otero, Vice President of Operations at the El Paso Community Foundation, and Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of Paso del Norte Community Foundation and Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

“A quality education is incredibly powerful and can make a difference in changing a person’s life,” said Stephanie Otero, Vice President of Operations for El Paso Community Foundation. “This event is an example of the collaborative spirit in El Paso that is increasing access to education, improving the workforce, and ultimately benefiting our community as a whole.”


“Expanding educational opportunities for young people is critical to building an economy where all residents of our region can prosper and thrive,” Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of Paso del Norte Community Foundation and Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “We are grateful to El Paso Community College and Philanthropy Advocates for bringing additional resources to the community to make this possible.”

Closing the event was the director of Philanthropy AdvocatesBecky Calahan, who discussed important education issues for the ongoing 2023 Legislative Session.

“Texans have made their voices heard. Our data shows that 94 percent of Texans agree that an educated workforce is the key to the future economic success of Texas,” said Becky Calahan. “We look forward to working with our elected leaders to invest in our students and our future.”