Innovations That Inspire


Recognition Year(s): 2022
School: Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Location: United States
The Sustainable Opportunities for Advancement and Recruitment (SOAR) project prepares young adults with Autism for their professional careers.

Call to Action

The students of the The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) ENACTUS chapter are dedicated to creating an inclusive business environment. One group that received little attention in the Rio Grande Valley is young adults with autism. The ENACTUS chapter sought to address this void by creating a professional development and training program for this group. Their idea was not only to help the young adults with autism to more easily acclimate to a professional business environment, but also to demonstrate to the business community that members of this group can add value to their organizations and should be included in recruiting efforts.


ENACTUS built this initiative from the ground up by partnering with Texas Workforce Solutions and the UTRGV Office of Sustainability to serve as a personal and professional development tool that would teach sustainability and career-readiness concepts to this underrepresented demographic. They curated the curriculum with the aim of helping a cohort of young adults with autism find employment and internship opportunities. The program is designed to instill career-readiness training and sustainable practices within the group that will help them become socially and financially responsible citizens and employees.

Career Readiness related trainings created by Texas Workforce Solutions: 

  • Effective Customer Service Practices
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Stress Management
  • Introduction to Personal Sustainability and the Four Rs of Sustainability
  • The Natural Environment
  • Personal Finance, Budgeting, and Saving
  • Renewable Energy Sources

Business partners included:

  • Valley Nature Center 
  • McAllen Recycling Center
  • Sea Turtle Inc. of South Padre Island
  • An HEB warehouse powered by solar panels as well as a wind farm.

Every part of this program incorporated one or more of the bottom-line concepts: people, planet, and profit. The 13 young adults who participated were asked to apply these concepts to their own lives, present to a panel of experts the highlights of their learning experiences, and sign a pledge committing to follow these sustainable practices in the future.


All 13 students in the first cohort secured internships after completing the SOAR program.

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