In 2020, Cesar Quintero came to the United States from Colombia with his wife and two teenage children seeking new opportunities. He had over 20 years of professional experience as a petroleum engineer in the oil and gas industry, but was interested in a career that would keep him closer to his family and new home.
In his search to find the right fit, a friend referred Quintero to the Caminos Finance program, a 10-week training program from the Centro Hispano of Dane County that provides digital and financial literacy and job readiness training for careers in finance. They showed him how his attention to detail and problem-solving skills from his engineering roles were transferrable to the world of banking, then introduced him to potential employers like Associated Bank.
Through this partnership, Quintero joined Associated Bank nine months ago as banker at the Middleton, Wis., branch. "It has been a great transition," said Quintero. “I have a passion to serve people and help them make their dreams grow and this work allows me to do just that."
As a multilingual colleague speaking Spanish, English and Portuguese, Quintero estimates that about 1 in 5 of his customers are Spanish speakers. This helps to meet a vital need in the community with approximately 29% of Hispanic households considered unbanked or underbanked according to the Federal Reserve.
"Cesar is already making impact in a number of ways by promoting outstanding customer service and helping to deepen customer relationships in Middleton and beyond,“ said Jay Sodey, district manager, Associated Bank. “He recently referred a contact to learn more about the Bank at Work program and now the company will soon be offering the program's benefits to approximately 5,500 employees."
Caminos Finance is just one of Associated Bank’s many partnerships that help the bank source and hire diverse representation through all levels of the bank. Other diverse talent partnerships include, but are not limited to:
- Tempo – Works to further the impact of women leaders.
- Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee – Supports and advances Hispanics by serving as a catalyst for professional and educational achievement.
- Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce – Provides education and networking with local businesses to create welcoming and inclusive workplaces.
- National Black MBA Association – Serves black professionals by creating educational, wealth building and growth opportunities throughout their careers.
- Hiring our Heroes – Connects transitioning service members to an 11-week corporate fellowship program with the intention to offer long-term employment at the end.
- DWD – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation – Works with Wisconsin employers to help people with disabilities find, keep or get a better job.
- Skills for Chicagoland's Future – Connects qualified unemployed and underemployed candidates directly with hiring managers to impact economic mobility in the region.
To learn about DE&I at Associated Bank visit https://www.associatedbank.com/about-associated-bank/diversity-and-inclusion. For information on careers at Associated Bank visit https://www.associatedbank.com/careers.