HILLSBORO, Ore.- Deputy District Attorney Ana Maria Carter of the Washington County District Attorney’s Office took a few hours off from her usual duties to meet with students at Hillsboro High School. Carter was one of 12 presenters taking part in the school’s first Spanish speaking Career Day.

Organized by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, the goal was to find Latino leaders from the community to share their experiences with the 100 students who registered for the program. Those leaders represent both the private and public sectors, giving the students a wide array of potential careers to explore.

“It is important for people to know what we do in our office and how we can help people in the community,” Carter said of why she decided to participate. “We also want these kids to know what career opportunities are available to them and to realize their ability to speak both English and Spanish can be a big asset for them.”

Nansi Lopez, the LatinX Outreach Business Manager for the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, organized the event. Lopez says it’s vital for these students to have an example of successful men and women that they can relate to. She says that’s especially true when it comes to the criminal justice system, which can often be intimidating.

“I feel like having Ana Maria here is great because these kids get to learn that the work she is doing is meaningful and it does help our community. I think it’s very important to have her here,” Lopez said of Carter’s involvement with the program.

Carter was joined by leaders from Hillsboro Police, the Hillsboro Hops, local banks, medical professionals and more. Lopez says everyone benefits when these students succeed in school, and eventually in their careers. Giving them examples to draw from is just one step in that process.

“We have to do the work to make sure we are connecting with everyone in our community. The students must have the access to any program, any educational space, anything in the community that they need so they can be successful and productive citizens,” Lopez said.

Lopez already has the next event planned for March. If you’d like to learn more about the chamber’s School to Career program, visit their website.

January 10, 2019