Valley Technical Academy, an academy that prepares individuals for a career in technology fields of web development and user experience design, this month announced Ernesto Ayala as their Chief Executive Officer, the next component in accelerating student access to careers in technology.
“My personal mission of bringing positive change to the Rio Grande Valley aligns with the vision of Valley Tech,” said Ayala, “We will continue to deliver quality education in a tech environment where students can thrive here at home.”
Ayala said that the meaningful combination of education and technology provides a profound vehicle for empowerment for both teachers and learners. After graduating from Brown University, he made his start at Edcouch-Elsa ISD as an educator, eventually holding leadership positions. Most recently, Ayala served as Regional VP of Learning Solutions for itslearning, inc., a learning management system provider headquartered in Norway. His arrival to Valley Tech marks a continuation in serving as a leader that takes actionable steps to enhance the role technology plays in giving equal access opportunities to students.
As CEO of Valley Tech, Ayala continues his mission of creating transformative change in the lives of individuals and their community. His experience in education and technology, coupled together with his drive for generating outcomes, is the leadership needed to take Valley Tech to the next level.
This refocus in leadership arrives as Jim Smith, founder and chairman of Valley Tech, shifts his aspirations to ensuring technology initiatives are set to a higher standard in the Rio Grande Valley. Smith’s new philanthropic effort emboldens his vision of providing a higher quality of technical skill development for the region.
“We want to set the standard in the region for education and career development of technology,” said Smith, “I’m going to be devoted to ensuring institutions are providing a higher quality of education that every student deserves to have.”
Latinos make up 6% of tech employees in the nation and Valley Tech sees itself to be the driving force of increasing that percentage. Creating an ecosystem that cultivates a tech culture locally changes the landscape of technical education and career development, making both the efforts of Ayala and Smith necessary for the growth and revitalization of the Rio Grande Valley.
With more than 2 and a half million jobs available in the technology market, a new technical academy is preparing to train local residents in those fields to ensure they receive the best job possible.
Housed at Mission’s Center for Education and Economic Development (CEED) Building, Valley Technical Academy start a 12-week program in January that offers lessons in web development, programming fundamentals for creating apps and courses on designing websites and apps.
The cost of the 12-week program is $10,500. Some students may qualify for financial aide or utilize a payment plan. However, Valley Technical Academy unique “Student For Life” philosophy allows students to retake the program or take new courses free of charge. According to school representatives, graduates can expect to find jobs with a starting salary of up to $55,000.
The next cohorts will begin Monday, June 11 and Monday, Oct. 8. The classes are open to all individuals and run from Monday through Friday starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m.
Future plans include opening campuses in Harlingen, Weslaco, Brownsville and Rio Grande City within the next five years. Each location is designed to have up to 225 students.