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SER publicly announced its Pathways to Potential capital campaign with a news conference held at the site of its new... Read more...

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Posted August 9

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Hilda Belmares

Hilda Belmares and her parents came to Houston by way of Matamoros, Mexico in search of better opportunities. Hilda lived in the East End and attended Barbara Jordan High School, where she earned her high school diploma.

The ability to sell and speak to others is a skill that Hilda finessed throughout her career. For several years, Hilda worked as a saleswoman selling vacation timeshares. In December 2016, Hilda found herself unemployed and decided it was time for her to make a change. She visited the East End Workforce Solutions office for help and discovered SER’s office administration training class beginning January 2017.

“I wanted to improve my skills,” said Hilda. “When it comes to timeshares, you don’t need to know much [about computers], you just [need to] know how to talk to people. Not everyone has the ability to sit in front of people and just start making a conversation. You have to have people skills, but I wanted to have computer knowledge.”

Hilda hoped the office administration course would make her stand out from other candidates while searching for office manager positions.

“PowerPoint gave me so much headache,” said Hilda. “Mr. Rodriguez was a really great instructor. He was always available to help with any questions we had. He was very informative.”

Despite the challenges, Hilda was committed.

“I wanted to finish starting something. I wanted to get my certificate. I wanted to say ‘hey, I came, I did it’.”

At the class graduation ceremony, Hilda was recognized for maintaining perfect attendance throughout the entire 12-week course.

“I was very proud,” said Hilda. “[My three sons] were happy for me. They were happy that I was taking the course because I was staying busy – not just at home.”

In April 2017, Hilda was hired as a Customer Service Advisor with Forest Lawn Cemetery. Hilda educates families on the benefits of pre-planning funeral arrangements now rather than leaving family members to struggle with important decisions at such an emotional time (when a loved one passes).

“I know this is a topic a lot of people don’t want to talk about, but it is something that is necessary,” said Hilda. “But what I tell them is that, ‘It’s not that I’m looking for people to die, but I am looking for people that want to listen on how to make a plan’. You buy insurance because you want to have a plan. I feel that I am helping people. I don’t see it as a sales career – I like it, I enjoy it.”

Hilda’s plan for the future is to advance as much as possible with her current employer. Her goal is to become a Manager and lead a team of her own. In the near future, Hilda plans to save toward her youngest son’s college fund, find a new home, and a new car.

“With this new job, there’s opportunity to grow. [The lessons I learned with] Excel, PowerPoint, and Word will come in handy. [As] I get promoted from what I’m doing now, I will be able to use it [more].”

The lessons and connections she gained at SER proved beneficial not only to Hilda, but to her family as well.

“Had I been younger and known about the opportunities available through SER, that’s where I would have been,” said Hilda. “They really do offer a lot of options for everyone.”

A few days after her Office Administration class graduation, Hilda and her sons were invited to a scholarship event hosted by the East End Chamber of Commerce, one of SER’s  community partners.

“My 18 year old son, Jerry, was awarded a scholarship with the East End Chamber of Commerce. [At the event], I saw Eduardo [Elizondo] (SER’s Partnership and Collaborations Manager) and he recognized me from the Office Administration training,” said Hilda. “I introduced him to my son and they started talking - now my son is actually working because Eduardo helped him get that job. I’m happy for my son. I’m glad that we met Eduardo.”

Hilda is a vocal SER advocate, encouraging people to take the next step toward changing their lives.

“Go ahead and look into [the services SER provides] because there are so many opportunities and doors that will open up when you go to SER,” said Hilda. “The knowledge I gained from SER was definitely a blessing.”