Letter from the CEO

Mission | Vision | Impact

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Roman S. OrtizChief Executive Officer


Project ARRIBA is an El Paso-based economic development initiative, incorporated on December 16, 1998, as a public, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. The mission of Project ARRIBA is to provide high-skilled training to El Pasoans who need the occupational skills necessary to access jobs in demand occupations that pay a family-sustaining living wage, with benefits and a career path. It is built on the premise that a true employment and training initiative must provide a comprehensive, integrated program of occupational, motivational and workplace skills training.

Project ARRIBA promotes a working partnership between community-based organizations, training institutions and private corporate partners.

Project ARRIBA demonstrates the substantial social and economic benefits that can be achieved for those who otherwise would not have the opportunity. Specifically, Project ARRIBA defines the skills required to succeed in targeted hard-to-fill occupations, and then recruits, trains and develops adults so that they are qualified and ready to fill employer’s needs for skilled workers.


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

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.

2017 will mark Project ARRIBA’s 18th Anniversary

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.

350 participants accessed training and case management services in 2016, which is in line with 2015. This led to 78 participants graduating in nursing and other healthcare related degree programs from the El Paso Community College (EPCC) and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). On average, it took this cohort of 78 graduates, 2.12 years to complete their job training. This past year, we saw 63 participants enter employment in high-demand occupations with average wages over $48,378 per year. These jobs will add over $3.0 million in payroll to our region after 12 full months of employment! Of this cohort, 60% lived at or below poverty, 30% received food stamps, and 30% are single parents. The program’s year-to-year persistence rate was 89% in line with last year down from 2014’s rate 91% and up from 2013’s rate of 88%. Over the last twelve months, our client services team enrolled 107 new participants. I am very proud of the work our team has accomplished this year. Please go here to view our 2016 Annual Report.

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 Gold-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.