When Leslie Jump Rodriguez enrolled in a 10-week finance training program almost two years ago, she had no idea that the program would lead her to Centro Hispano, a prominent organization that serves the Latinx community in Madison.
At the time, Jump Rodriguez, originally from Perú, had been living in the U.S. for 12 years and had a range of work experiences. She knew she wanted to do something different and felt compelled to join the Camino Finance program.
“I was working for my own business when I decided I wanted to do something else,” she said. “I took the program and it completely changed my personal and professional life in so many ways.”
The program gave training in job readiness, digital and financial literacy, civic engagement and more. It also allowed her to learn more about Centro Hispano, which eventually led her to her first position at Centro as an administrative assistant, where she’s worked since.
This week, Jump Rodriguez will start her new position at Centro as the operations coordinator.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said about finding out she was offered the position. “I was so happy and grateful because for so many years I did not believe in myself but the people at Centro [let me believe]. They say ‘you can do whatever you want, you can reach everything you want.’”
In her new role, Jump Rodriguez will be offering support to Centro and their programs. She will also be working directly with Executive Director Karen Menendez Coller while Centro continues to offer virtual services during the pandemic.
Like most businesses, Centro Hispano was hit hard by the coronavirus and they had to shut down their building and move services online.
“It’s difficult for us because we can continue to help people but it’s just not the same,” Jump Rodriguez said. “There are many people who are undocumented and [Covid-19] is very difficult for them because they can’t get any help.”
Centro Hispano has continued to offer support through their general support program, immigration services, health insurance enrollment navigator. These and all other bilingual programs are available virtually or over the phone. Their youth programs are currently finding “creative ways” of keeping their youth engaged.
Centro is also currently offering employment support through its Career Pathway Programs, according to a statement on its site.
Jump Rodriguez plans to continue her work with the Latinx community in Madison through Centro Hispano.
“I see myself working with Karen and following her example,” she said. “I want to work hard for our Latino community and continue to help people because this is the best job I have in my life.”