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Local partnership provides college student jobs with Customs and Border Protection

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HIDALGO COUNTY - A partnership between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and The South Texas Assets Consortium will offer agricultural internships for university science major students.

“This is a great opportunity to help provide local college students looking for an agriculture biological sciences career possibly as a future CBP agriculture specialist,” CBP Assistant Port Director, David Moreno said.

It is a program designed to encourage local workforce development and to retain young people.

“You know the Pharr point of entry is growing every year by leaps and bounds,” Moreno mentioned.

According to CBP in 2019, Texas crossed nearly 230,000 truckloads of produce, a growth of more than 127 percent since 2007. The Pharr International Bridge handled almost 80% of those imports.

“We need to prepare students for those opportunities so that they are ready, so when that window opens they have their application materials ready,” UTRGV associate professor, School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Biology, Dr. Alex Racelis said.

The partners have been working to bring this internship program to the forefront since 2017. Today, three out of ten intern positions are filled by UTRGV students.

Two students are assigned to Pharr’s point of entry and one student assigned to Rio Grande City’s point of entry.

Dr. Racelis says it is imperative to teach our young people how to apply for federal opportunities.

“The application process is not necessarily user friendly. There are certain things you have to do to upload your application online and have your resume prepared,” he said.

The program has currently filled all positions. CBP and UTRGV will notify the community once the second round opportunity is public.

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