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HEDC's Impact on Harlingen

Harlingen Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) is all about creating wealth and prosperity for the community. HEDC is Harlingen’s tour guide of sorts for businesses new to Harlingen, and a resource and mentor for existing businesses and entrepreneurs.

Importance of HEDC to Harlingen

“The mission of the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation is to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Harlingen through the creation of wealth, jobs, and investment.” HEDC accomplishes this mission statement by recruiting new businesses, improving the skilled workforce through training and education, and supporting business growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Partnering

One important factor of creating wealth is to create and retain jobs. HEDC works with Workforce Solutions, TSTC, and UTRGV to develop the workforce needed to retain and recruit businesses. The colleges work with different industries to make sure their programs are training students in the field they are studying. Workforce Solutions then help the graduates to find jobs within that field. HEDC focuses on this workforce in deciding which new businesses to recruit to Harlingen. HEDC also partners with grants for Texas Workforce Commission programs, and with educational grants to help students graduate into the workforce with the skills they need.

HEDC promotes and markets the City’s parks, education, workforce, and other aspects of Harlingen’s quality of life in the recruitment of new businesses.

Recruiting New Businesses

As part of the goal of bringing wealth to Harlingen, HEDC works to bring new industry to the city in order to create jobs, diversity the city offerings, and increase tax revenue. Focusing primarily on the industries that utilize the available workforce, HEDC has local incentives available to attract new industries. Some of these incentives include:

·       Commercial Recruitment Program is a retail incentive equal to a portion of the local sales tax.

·       Land Grants. HEDC may subsidize the purchase of greenfield development land for qualifying projects.

·       Job Creation Grants are available to qualifying projects creating over 50 full-time jobs with grants ranging from $1000 to $2500+ per job depending on the wages paid for the jobs.

There are also state and federal incentive programs available to companies wishing to move to Harlingen for which HEDC can help with the application.

Bringing new money into the community is essential to creating wealth for the community. For this reason, Legislature voted in 2003 that creating and retaining primary jobs was required of certain EDC projects. Primary jobs exist at companies that export their services or products outside of the community or region. Primary jobs bring new money into the community, whereas small businesses keep it within the community.

Importance to Existing Businesses

HEDC works with existing businesses to help them succeed and to grow. Building relationships with businesses is integral to HEDC connecting those businesses to the resources they need. These resources may include helping with finding the right talent to fill jobs by connecting the business to HEDC’s workforce partners: Workforce Solution, TSTC, and UTRGV. They also include public relations and marketing support.

HEDC has many incentives available to existing businesses to help with expansion projects, including some of the same incentives available to relocating businesses.

Moving Forward

On November 2, 2022 the Harlingen City Commission approved the HEDC 10 Year Strategic Plan for Industrial and Economic Development. This plan laid forth six goals, each with well-defined strategy points and tasks to be completed, The goals are:

1.     Invest in Human Capital through specific workforce development and training activities, thus creating a more diverse workforce.

2.     Increase Harlingen’s industrial base.

3.     Advocate for transportation infrastructure improvements.

4.     Increase retail sales tax revenues and retail establishments.

5.     Increase healthcare facilities and offerings.

6.     Develop a robust entrepreneurship/innovation hub.

HEDC will continue to serve the city of Harlingen in its efforts to improve the quality of life in Harlingen by creating wealth and prosperity for its citizens.

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