Developing a bilingual workforce

The story of a UnidosUS program that leads to a more diverse workforce, and brings more Latinos into the financial mainstream.

bilingual workforce
Students at Mi Casa Resource Center practice their cash-handling skills.

Wendy came to Mi Casa Resource Center to expand her job opportunities and work toward a career. The Denver-based UnidosUS Affiliate helps Latinos empower themselves economically and financially with programs like job training and career-readiness classes. Wendy already had experience in accounting and handling money, but didn’t feel confident in interviews, so she had trouble finding a job in financial services, her dream.

Mi Casa knows the importance of finding the right fit for each person, and playing to their strengths. They worked with Wendy and decided it would be best for her to try the UnidosUS Latinos in Finance Training class. “It helped me a lot. I got to better understand the meaning of customer service and how to better pay attention to the customers’ needs,” she says.

Wendy excelled, and after a few weeks, the team connected her to customer service positions so she could strengthen her skills and build confidence in customer-facing roles before applying for a job in the financial services sector.

bilingual workforce
Wendy’s class at Mi Casa ends with a professional headshot she can take with her into her new career.

Wendy began working at a large chain retailer. After four months, the store decreased her hours. Committed to finding full-time work, Wendy decided not to be discouraged by the sudden setback and came back to Mi Casa wanting to try for another finance position.

With help from Mi Casa, Wendy had a full-time job at a nearby bank within a few months, thanks to the combination of her prior skills and the new ones she developed at Mi Casa. “I never knew there were a lot of options for me to work in customer services until I got to the class,” she says.

Latinos and the Spanish-dominant are far less likely to keep their money in a bank, partly because of the language barrier. The UnidosUS Latinos in Finance program implemented by Mi Casa not only helps adults establish a career in financial services, but also helps increase the representation of Latinos in the sector. Having more bilingual Latino employees helps the banks provide services that meet the needs of diverse customers.

Bilingual workforce
Another UnidosUS Affiliate, Centro Hispano of Dane County, has mock teller stations for future bank tellers to practice their customer service skills.

The support network Wendy found at Mi Casa is part of the community she serves now at the bank. “I still go back to Mi Casa to ask for help or advice,” she says. “I’m really grateful that I got to get a lot of help from the staff and from my former classmates.”

This long-term mentorship is what Mi Casa is all about. The team knows that a little patience and support can help anyone persevere through challenges and define their own path.

This story originally appeared in the 2017 UnidosUS Annual Report. Read more stories of Latinos building their own American dreams on the UnidosUS website.

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