The future jobs of Brownsville will be amazing, if we do the right things now.
We know what the mix of jobs looks like today in Brownsville, so if we do nothing new, we can just simply add more of those same jobs.
Yes, we could, or…
We can think about what it could be if we work together under a shared “Future Jobs Vision.” What could the future of Brownsville jobs look like then?
Well, with over 50,000 BISD students graduating in the next 12 years – more than at any other period in our history – we should take a shot at it.
First, let’s take a step back to see where Brownsville fits into this whole global economy thingy.
Yes, the global economy has changed in the last decade – changed a lot. Local metro economies like Brownsville need to carve a unique niche in this changing landscape if they are going to be able to successfully compete for quality jobs. We need something that makes us competitive, something that adds value to global supply and innovation chains.
And no, low-cost labor alone is not a competitive advantage anymore. The only way to compete on low-cost labor is to go even lower, and we are trying to go the other direction, right?
OK, so two of our greatest strengths in Brownsville are our location on the U.S.-Mexico Border and our logistic infrastructure.
Essentially, we are in a location filled with untapped opportunity between the U.S. (Mexico’s largest trading partner) and Mexico (the U.S.’s third-largest trading partner).
But these geographical/logistic assets alone will not yield the future jobs we seek.
Don’t believe me?
Case in point: Laredo is a “successful” port; in fact, it is the largest inland port in the U.S. They have tons of cargo moving through their community, yet with all the billions of dollars of merchandise flowing through Laredo, they still suffer one of the highest poverty rates in the nation.
Why? Because geographical/logistic assets alone are not enough – they are just something to build on.
What Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso, and all other border communities need to do is seize this real opportunity to create value that creates local, quality jobs. TWEET THIS
This is what our BiNED initiative is working towards: Using our local strengths to grow jobs driven by exporting industries, on advance manufacturing, on innovation.
BiNED, or BiNational Economic Development Zone, is a project of United Brownsville that works to bring key local partners – Congressman Vela, Port of Brownsville, City of Brownsville, etc. – under a focused agenda, a “Future Jobs Vision,” to redefine our Border economy to one that can create the quality future Brownsville jobs we want.
It is an aggressive collaboration, but a needed one. Brownsville does have great strength being on the Border, but it is a strength that needs to be fed by a variety of different public entities. To properly grow, BiNED needs targeted workforce training, land use, infrastructure, and probably most importantly, a federal legal structure that builds a 21st century border that empowers not hinders trade.
With this in place, attracting private sector investment (jobs) to Brownsville will be more successful.
If we are going to reverse decades of high rates of poverty on the Border, the future of Brownsville jobs must be based on BiNED.
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