For people who came to
That's where the Pasos al exito (Steps to Success) program comes in.
Started in 2012, the two-year program helps Latinos in rural
"It's helped me very much," said participant
Saucedo learned about credit history, buying a house, budgeting and more in the program's first six-week course. She plans to continue Pasos' six-week "Starting Your Business at Home" class in August.
"These are all things that no one ever taught me," Saucedo said. "I like this type of class, what they're doing for the community."
After classes on finances and business management, Pasos participants spend the second year of the program working with local organizations and consultants who can help them get their businesses off the ground.
The program is run by Rural Development Initiatives, a group focused on rural
"Part of our strategic focus is economic development for rural communities," said
Though many parts of rural
"Nobody was filling the need to teaching Latinos how to open their own businesses," she said, explaining why RDI chose to start the Pasos program.
For Ayanel Guerrero-Deleon, Pasos was a gateway to new jobs. She took the Hermiston Pasos classes in 2012 then signed up for a free adviser, who helped her prepare a business plan to open a trucking company with her husband in the fall of that year.
"It was new for me because I'm from another country," she said. "This program really helped us to build our own business."
Now, she handles administration for their business and works at the
"If they have the resources and support, they can do whatever they want," she said, "but they need to believe in themselves."
In his experience, Latinos often limit themselves to jobs they feel comfortable with and know how to do, which often means agricultural work.
"We don't explore ... some other parts of the industry, of the jobs," he said.
He hopes a program like Pasos can help show people what is possible. Though he found the Money Smarts class a bit overwhelming because of the number of topics covered in a short time, he said the program has benefitted him.
"I think that's a good start to help people, especially our community," he said.
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