Letter from the CEO

Mission | Vision | Impact

Roman S. OrtizChief Executive Officer

Our Mission

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. Our mission is to assist economically disadvantaged individuals in gaining the education and job skills needed for demand occupations that pay a family-sustaining, living wage in El Paso, Texas. Project ARRIBA promotes a working partnership between community-based organizations, training institutions, and private corporate partners.Project ARRIBA is an El Paso-based economic development initiative, incorporated on December 16, 1998, as a public, not-for-profit.

Project ARRIBA is unlike any other job training program in our region. It is a true labor market intermediary that connects individuals wanting a higher education, training providers, and local employers needing a skilled workforce. The program provides access to an education and helps students persist while in school to successfully complete a degree or certification in a timely manner; average time spent training is approximately 2.5 years. Furthermore, the program helps meet regional workforce shortages while strengthening the local economy.

Our Vision

Be a leader in workforce development for the region, which will impact the state & nation, and over time, the world.

Our Standard

  • Treat everyone with dignity & respect.
  • Make every effort to build people up.
  • Always do what is right

Why? How? What?

  • We do the work we do in order to Provide Opportunities for People to Succeed, who otherwise would not have the opportunity.

  • We do this by providing the financial, educational, and social support systems needed for at-risk students to access, persist, complete a degree or credential in a demand occupation, and be job placed into a family sustaining, living wage job.

  • The end result is a highly-skilled workforce that meets employer demands in the El Paso region.

View our 2020 Annual Report - Coming Soon

Our Impact

This model has proven to be an effective tool in the job training system for El Paso, Texas. A recent study by the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness on the Economic Impact of Project ARRIBA on El Paso County shows that Project ARRIBA has added about $893.30 million in value to the El Paso economy in the form of future earnings of program graduates. Moreover, Project ARRIBA has supported about $31.699 million in total investment over the life of the program which implies a cumulative benefit-cost ratio of $28.18 for every $1.00 invested!

Additionally, according to an independent study in 2015 by the Institute for Policy & Economic Development (IPED Report) at the University of Texas at El Paso, the local economy will realize an additional $171 million in additional taxes from program graduates over the remainder of their work years due to their higher earning potential.

To date, Project ARRIBA has graduated almost 1,600 participants and 2020 job placements are earning on average over $49,000/year in locally demanded occupations which benefit this region.

2021 will mark Project ARRIBA’s 22nd Year in Workforce Development!

In 1999, we opened our doors as a workforce intermediary that invests in human capital to improve the lives of low-income El Pasoans, meet employer demands, and build the local community. All these years later, we continue to be employer driven, regionally focused and participant centric.

Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the whole world. The successful model of Project ARRIBA was more evident in 2020. For over 20 years, we have been creating ESSENTIAL WORKERS in the area of bachelor degreed nurses, associate degreed nurses, as well as other ancillary demand healthcare professions.

Specifically, to recap 2020, 356 participants accessed training and case management services. This led to 127 participants graduating in nursing and other healthcare related degree programs from the El Paso Community College (EPCC), University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and Texas Tech School of Nursing. This past year, we saw 78 participants enter employment in high-demand occupations with average wages over $49,000 per year! These jobs will add over $3.8 million in payroll to our region after 12 full months of employment. Of this cohort, 92% lived at or below poverty, 22% received food stamps and 19% are single parents. The program’s year-to-year persistence rate was 90%. As always, I am very proud of the work our team has accomplished this year and I thank the Board of Directors for their continued leadership.

As always, I am very proud of the work our team has accomplished this year and I thank the Board of Directors for their continued leadership.

Awards & Recognitions

In commemoration of The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics’ 25th Anniversary, The White House named Project ARRIBA as one of three El Paso, TX a “Bright Spot“ for programs investing in expanding educational opportunities and improving educational outcomes for Hispanic students. Project ARRIBA received recognition for helping close the achievement gap for Hispanics in the areas of College Access and STEM Education.

In 2009 the Workforce Strategy Center (WSC) report, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recognized Project ARRIBA as one of the nation’s top 14 successful workforce models from across the U.S. that is pro-actively addressing the challenge of providing disadvantaged workers with the technical and postsecondary education needed to qualify for skilled positions.

Other notable recognitions include the Texas Economic Development Council’s (TEDC) top workforce development program for communities over 100,000 in population, the Harvard Innovation in Government Award, and recognition by the U.S. Department of Commerce has one of the top twenty programs in the nation that represent Workforce Innovation and Economic Adjustment Strategies.

Project ARRIBA is a Platinum-Level GuideStar participant. 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. GuideStar is a database of nonprofit profiles that allows users to benchmark multiple organizations, verify charitable status, access compensation information and interpret nonprofit financial health and viability.