Project ARRIBA (Advanced Retraining & Redevelopment Initiative in Border Areas) is a community-based nonprofit that operates as a workforce and economic development initiative in the Paso del Norte region.
In the mid-nineties, The El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization or EPISO and later Border Interfaith recognized the regional need for a quality job training program and set about the task of seeking funding from the State of Texas and local government. Early on, the City and County of El Paso responded, in addition to the Texas Workforce Commission with the Wagner Peyser Fund. These entities along with other federal and private funders and our training provider partners like the El Paso Community College, the University of Texas at El Paso, and as of 2019, Texas Tech University Health Science Center of El Paso, remain essential to the success of Project ARRIBA today.
Through a partnership of community-based organizations, training institutions, and private corporate investors, we work with underserved and overlooked populations to help them start or persevere in a post-secondary education program to achieve a degree or certification and then assist them with job placement to ensure long-term career retention in a position with a family-sustaining wage.
Project ARRIBA is modeled after the successful employment and training initiative Project QUEST in San Antonio, which was founded in 1992. Here in El Paso, founding directors critical to our success included Rev. Dr. Ed Roden-Lucero, Jim R. Phillips, Rev. James Hall, Gary Hedrick, Rev. Ken Ducre, Richard Fleager, and Rev. Pablo Matta who serve emeritus positions on the board of directors. Other notable founding directors were Alfonso Martinez-Fonts, Jr., Nathan Christian, Bob Snow and Les Parker.
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics recognized Project ARRIBA as a “Bright Spot” in Hispanic education. One of three El Paso recipients, Project ARRIBA received recognition for helping close the achievement gap for Hispanics in the areas of College Access and STEM Education.
This reflects Project ARRIBA’s commitment to data transparency among other nonprofits and sets the standard for the organization’s impact and effectiveness to our community and stakeholders.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the WSC report recognized Project ARRIBA as one of the nation’s top 14 successful workforce models from across the U.S. that is proactively addressing the challenge of providing disadvantaged workers with the technical and postsecondary education needed to qualify for skilled positions.
TEDC recognized Project ARRIBA as a top workforce development program for communities over 100,000 in population.
The U.S. Department of Commerce recognized Project ARRIBA as one of the top twenty programs in the nation that represent Workforce Innovation and Economic Adjustment Strategies.
The BBB Torch Awards for Ethics honors organizations whose leaders demonstrate a high level of personal character; ensure that the organization’s practices meet the highest standards of ethics; and consequently generate trust with its customers and the community. Project ARRIBA was a 2023 winner for non-profits.