The health care industry is essential in El Paso — not just for the services provided by medical professionals, but for the salaries those jobs pay. Such wages can be enough to lift an entire family out of poverty, and it’s only natural for organizations that provide job training in underserved communities to focus on this rewarding field. In El Paso and its surrounding county, Project ARRIBA — short for Advanced Retraining & Redevelopment Initiative in Border Areas — connects residents of low-income neighborhoods with resources that can prepare them for higher education and train them for living-wage careers in health care, as well as information technology and more.
Project ARRIBA takes a 360-degree approach to job placement, from helping program participants choose a career path and identify training, to providing support services such as childcare, tuition assistance and tutoring to ensure students complete their degree. As program participants pursue job training or education, Project ARRIBA case managers provide valuable counseling, other support and a level of accountability, beginning with enrollment in the program and through to job placement.
Over the next three years, Project ARRIBA is partnering with El Paso Community College, University of Texas at El Paso School of Nursing and Texas Tech School of Nursing to train 425 local residents — primarily Hispanic/Latina women — for jobs in health care. They will follow in the footsteps of Project ARRIBA alumna and registered nurse Adriana Gomez, who after struggling to pay for college completed a challenging nursing program with the organization’s help. “Everyone inspired me and renewed my faith and strength,” Gomez says. A grant from Bank of America, part of the bank’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, will help support this initiative.