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Workforce Development Spotlight: Maria is Measuring Her Own Success 

September 26, 2023

Maria using all her skills to build a shed at the College of Marin Workforce graduation final and ceremony.

Maria, a recent graduate of our Construction Certification Workforce Development Program, has an incredible story, one that illustrates how Canal Alliance’s Workforce Programs remove barriers to success for Marin County’s Latino community. Maria’s journey showcases the immense value of these programs, the access they create to higher-paying jobs, and an improved quality of life.    

Maria’s journey with Canal Alliance began when she joined the Canal Alliance Construction Certification Program, which we offer in partnership with the College of Marin and the Marin Builders Association. Maria was one of the two women in the most recent cohort of 19; the program empowers members of Marin’s Latino community by providing the necessary skills and training to thrive in the construction industry, and beyond. 

Throughout the transformative 12-week course, Maria acquired hands-on experience with various tools and mastered the art of measuring and reading dimensions accurately. 

“I asked Professor Robert questions, and he showed me how to use every tool. Beforehand I hadn’t touched a measuring tape. He taught me how to read an inch and so much more,” said Maria. 

With her newfound expertise, Maria felt empowered to teach her children how to use a measuring tape and shared with Canal Alliance staff how proud she felt as she showcased her new skills with them. 

Although Maria’s current profession does not directly involve construction, she feels sure that the skills she gained in the program will prove invaluable in her career and life. Maria expressed her gratitude for the course, which she says has helped her strengthen her leadership skills, secure a pay raise in her current job, and enhance her overall job performance with her current employer.  

Maria, in large part, attributes her success to the support provided by her Canal Alliance’s case manager, Regina Vindel. Regina is a Career Workforce Supervisor, a role in which she offers advice to the students in the program and checks in regularly to make sure they have necessary resources throughout the 12-week program.

Regina, who Maria regularly refers to as “her angel,” “was always patient, informative, and helpful throughout the program,” adds Maria.

The feeling of admiration is mutual. Of Maria, Regina reflected on her perseverance and tenacity. “Maria is a great example of a warrior; she never gives up and fights to the end to achieve her goals. It was a pleasure to have her in class, she is always positive with a great attitude for learning and motivating other students.”  

With her newfound construction skills, and the mathematical competency that comes with those skills, Maria says she now approaches everyday tasks with confidence. In addition to her confidence in math, Maria shared her appreciation for the focus on safety, which she says can be applied to many facets of her life. 

“I was scared before with numbers, but they showed us a lot how everyday things work with numbers, in my work I now feel more confident and calmer,” says Maria. 

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