About Us

The Council for South Texas Economic Progress (COSTEP) was founded in 1972 to coordinate and sponsor a broad and many faceted program to foster economic progress in South Texas. For over 45 years, COSTEP has served the community by helping hundreds of thousands of students and their families by providing free financial literacy education programs and help fund millions of dollars in scholarships; altogether helping individuals achieve the dream of a higher education. In May 2019, COSTEP adopted a new mission “to ensure residents acquire skills and knowledge and have access to economic opportunities to enable them to pursue meaningful careers and live prosperous lives in Rio South Texas”.

teacher with tudents

COSTEP also developed a new strategic framework to fulfill its mission, which involves work related to three interlinked objectives:

  1. Education & workforce
  2. Economic development
  3. Advocacy

The new strategic framework provides a platform for continued coordination and collaboration towards a common end-goal, not only for COSTEP and its nonprofit partners but also for a broader base of regional stakeholders. It offers the opportunity to connect initiatives, breakdown silos, and improve outcomes for regional stakeholders who participate.


COSTEP’s operational region includes the Rio South Texas Region, which is made up of seven (7) counties including: Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb, Willacy, and Zapata counties.

Fueling Inspiration. Driving Innovation. Investing in Our Region’s Future.

The Council for South Texas Economic Progress is proud to be a part of the Rio South Texas Alliance, a new, regional economic development alliance, established with our partners the Rio-South Texas Education and Community Development Foundation (RSTF) and the Rio South Texas Economic Council (RSTEC). Along with the private business community, we are leading economic and talent development efforts throughout the 7-county Rio South Texas region including: Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb, Willacy, and Zapata counties inclusive of municipios on the southern riverbank.

This progressive, regional effort is being created to more effectively drive economic growth and diversification through strategic initiatives, business development, and the creation of new pathways between education and industry to build a future-ready workforce pipeline.

The mission, vision and proposed initiatives of the Rio South Texas Alliance have been crafted to complement, not compete, with local economic development organizations. Through communication with leaders in economic and talent development in the region, the RSTA has developed regional strategies in data collection, marketing, placemaking, talent pipeline enhancement, and relationship building between the United States and Mexico. While the RSTA via Rio South Texas Economic Council (RSTEC) will continue to perform international recruitment activities and, in time, may perform domestic recruitment activities, this will be done in concert with local economic development organizations to serve the combined benefit of the local community as well as the region. The RSTA is being structured to have more communication throughout the economic development ecosystem in Rio South Texas and has made collaboration a priority of this regional approach to prosperity creation.

See how you can be a part of this exciting new Alliance by visiting www.RioSouthTexasAlliance.org.

Be a part of a new Regional Economic Development Alliance

Our organization is focused on developing strategies and solutions to resolve current challenges created by COVID-19 and have a positive, long-term outlook on economic development. Join us as we create resilience and results.