September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time where we celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic Americans to our nation and society.
Peckham’s Contact Center Solutions line of business employs almost 200 Hispanic or Latino team members, with some locations, such as Phoenix, having as much as 34% of their workforce be a person of Hispanic descent. Alfredo is one of those individuals working as a bilingual team member in one of our various federal contracts.
Alfredo was born to Mexican parents in Texas but immediately moved with them to Mexico, where he spent most of his childhood and early teenage years. When he was 14, his mom married an American citizen and the family moved back to the U.S. Although Alfredo had taken some basic English classes during elementary school, he credits his love for playing video games, especially Minecraft, with learning English as proficiently and quickly as he did.
The story of how Alfredo ended up in Michigan is an endearing one. He was eager to experience a new culture, dissimilar from what he had experienced in Texas, and that included seeing snow for the first time. He applied to several universities but eventually settled at Michigan State University where he is majoring in Computer Science.
When Alfredo first considered working at Peckham, he realized he did not have the required certification to apply for the position he wanted. Instead of that deterring him, he used it as a motivation to get a A+ IT certification. Along with being bilingual, this enabled him to be hired almost immediately.
Working at Peckham has allowed Alfredo to gain experience in a field that is closely related to his major at MSU while still being able to take courses to complete his degree. He compliments Peckham’s work culture and environment as one that is inclusive, stress-free, and full of camaraderie. Unlike prior employment, Peckham offers him the chance to work alongside other Latinos, especially those of Mexican descent, which is something that he really appreciates. Moreover, he has the opportunity to speak Spanish when answering calls from citizens who prefer that as their primary language. Taken together, these make Peckham feel welcoming and comforting to a 20-year-old living far away from family and friends.
Alfredo believes that the organization’s resources and support make it a great place to grow as a person. His goals include eventually working for the IT team at Peckham as a staff member. “Some of the supervisors I currently work with began their careers as team members, so I definitely see a lot of opportunities for upward mobility,” Alfredo explained.
When discussing his return to the United States as a teenager, he is incredibly thankful that his mom and stepfather decided to uproot the family from Mexico in pursuit of a better life. Although there is much he misses about the Mexican culture and social life, he knows that coming to MSU and Peckham has been an incredible educational opportunity. As he said in his native tongue, “Aunque extraño el encanto de los barrios de mi patria y el sabor de la comida autentíca Mejicana, estoy muy agradecido de que mi mamá decidió mudarse a los Estados Unidos por todas las oportunidades que no hubiese podido tenido en Méjico”.
(Translation: “Though I still cherish the feel and charm of a Mexican neighborhood along with the flavors of Mexican food, I am thankful that my mom decided to bring me to the United States so that I could take advantage of the many prospects that were simply not available in Mexico.”)