At California Human Development (CHD), we believe that every person deserves the opportunity to have pathways created and doors opened. Our employee, Rosalina Montanez, is an excellent example of what new possibilities are in reach due to these created opportunities.
Rosalina Montanez came to the United States in 1985 during the Reagan Administration in search of a better-paying job to provide for her family. Her journey started working in the fields where she would pick apricots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and various other foods for a living. Rosalina was a farmworker for two years without a place to call home. In 1988 she decided to apply for a seasonal migrant camp where she lived for nearly 17 years with her family.
Before arriving in the US, Rosalina had previous work experience in administration, which allowed her to become an Office Assistant. Through being a farmworker, she heard about California Human Development and the support we provide to farmworkers. As a result, she took the initiative to visit the closest office to outline her options and eligibility for assistance. Immediately, she was directed to a case manager for screening in our Workforce Development & Farmworker Services Division. After her screening, it was determined that she qualified for 380 hours of Work Experience Training. Through our Work Experience Program, Rosalina learned more about computers, administration, and software systems such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. While at CHD, she also learned that she could finish High School and decided to revalidate her high school credits to complete.
At the time, our Galt office offered Immigration & Citizenship assistance. Rosalina quickly took action to see if there was a legal pathway for her to become a U.S. Citizen. As a result, she was able to gain her Green Card and fully become a U.S. Citizen in 2021. She states, “It was a really good experience working with CHD because I did finish high school, and I was able to gain more through the Immigration & Citizenship Program.”
However, once she completed her 380 hours of work experience, Rosalina faced many hurdles and didn’t immediately find the job she was hoping for. However, she was not discouraged and knew that there was something better coming her way. “After, doing farmwork and other hard labor jobs, I knew this was not my vocation,” said Rosalina.
Later, she received a call from her Case Manager at CHD offering her an opportunity to apply for a Temporary Outreach Team Leader Position for our Call Center. This position became available because of our Disaster Relief for Immigrants (DRAI) program, which financially assisted undocumented individuals across our CHD service footprint. Based on her performance and the way she served clients, she was a natural fit to transition to a permanent position in CHD. Therefore, we offered her the opportunity to apply for a permanent position with us as a Youth Case Manager. Rosalina decided to do her application and proceeded with an interview. Rosalina was hired shortly after that. Rosalina commented on this part of her journey by saying, “I never thought I would get the job. There were a lot of barriers facing my way, and one of the many that I worried about was my age and the language barrier.”
Rosalina never expected to be offered her dream job. However, CHD was able to provide Rosalina with the opportunity to achieve a better life. Throughout her journey, Rosalina has learned more about herself and realized she has the power to influence and inspire others. In addition, Rosalina’s background has allowed her to better understand and connect with her clients.
Today, Rosalina continues to thrive and has created a mission of her own to continue to show others that anything is possible. In her own words, “I just want to say to people that it’s never too late and to believe in yourself.”