Hay Trabajo – Where There’s a Job [App], There’s Hope.

Hay Trabajo – Where There’s a Job [App], There’s Hope.

Elizabeth Escobar was born in Cali, Columbia. Her father was a pizza delivery man—until one day, he made a delivery to a computer programming company.

Curious, he asked about the business. They said computer programming was lucrative, and he should come back—they could teach him.

While Elizabeth’s father launched his programming career from the ground up, Elizabeth became a budding computer wiz. In 1999, her father left Colombia for more opportunity in America. Ten years after that, she would join him, teach herself English while waitressing, and complete her college degree at UNC Charlotte. Today, she’s an IT Architect who also owns her own business: an app called Hay Trabajo.

Elizabeth has lived an American dream story. She’s done what the majority of immigrants are never able to do: find work, find home, find belonging.

And Hay Trabajo, which connects Spanish-speaking workers with employers, is arguably Elizabeth’s most unexpected and life-changing move yet.

An App Bridges The Gap

The same year Elizabeth was promoted to IT Architect, her mother got a green card and came to the U.S. Elizabeth assured her mother that it would be easy to find work—cleaning, nannying, etc. She was more than qualified.

But it wasn’t easy at all.

The only job postings in Spanish ran in the local newspaper—bare-bones postings, without any way to know if the employer had a good reputation. Elizabeth could never be certain these strangers wouldn’t take advantage of her mother, who spoke no English. The posts that did run in English seemed to expect a fluent English-speaking candidate. Not promising.

It became clear, very quickly, that Elizabeth’s mother wasn’t the only Spanish-speaking immigrant struggling with the job search. Meanwhile, Elizabeth was meeting American employers (at church), who told her they wanted and needed blue collar workers but weren’t sure how to locate and communicate with the Hispanic population.

The gap was obvious, but Elizabeth couldn’t do all the translating and matchmaking herself. So she did what she knew how to do: She built a web app.

This app would function as a database for both sides: For Hispanic workers, a database of hiring employer profiles and MWBE (Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises) businesses serving the Hispanic community. For employers, a database of certified Hispanic workers, with resumes that translated (fully conveying) their work experience.

“There has to be someone doing this already,” Elizabeth kept thinking. The more she looked, the more she was shocked: There wasn’t.

Then again, not many Hispanic immigrants are able to get an education like Elizabeth’s. What if she really was the one with the skills, the personal experience, and the heart to step in? What if no one was solving the problem?

Today, Elizabeth’s app, Hay Trabajo (“There is work”) is up and running. She has corporate partners. She’s dreaming up what’s next.

A New American Dream

True to Elizabeth’s curiosity and computer wizardry (she’s a certified ‘hacker’), the future in her mind’s eye has to do with block chain.

Through Hay Trabajo, employers could eventually pay employees in digital money. That way, if an employee in America needed to return to Colombia, they wouldn’t have to start from scratch. They wouldn’t have to open a new bank account. They wouldn’t have to go back to square one to find a job. Hay Trabajo, available internationally, would help them find work in their new home—again.

After describing this future, Elizabeth brought up the border. Her heart, like many, is broken for the Hispanic children who are being detained at this very moment.

She disclosed her ‘wild’ dream: What about the idea of building an American dream somewhere else?

Elizabeth described a new society where block chain builds a path to freedom. Less restrictions, more opportunity to meet your basic needs. More opportunity, more freedom for everyone to dream. You don’t need to be here. You can be anywhere.

Hay Trabajo, as it is, is already making a world of difference to Hispanic workers and employers in the greater Charlotte and Winston-Salem areas.

But “I’ve arrived” is not Elizabeth’s philosophy. At a moment when she has more than she ever dreamed of, Elizabeth keeps her eyes open.

The tech world is ever-changing, and so is life.

XXX

To learn more about Hay Trabajo, visit https://www.haytrabajoya.com.

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