We sit down with one of our favorite employer partners, Elias Sandoval of Easy Solutions and get his best advice to find jobs in Brownsville, TX.
SCI: ROLE CALL! Introduce yourself, Elias!
ES: My name is Elias Sandoval – I’m the proud founder and CEO of Easy Solutions, a local community business. We have been recognized and run numerous awards, thanks to the likes of working with companies like Southern Careers Institute. Last year we were awarded Small Business of the Year [in the Lower Rio Grande Valley] by the United States Small Business Association.
SCI: Tell me about the type of work that Easy Solutions does.
ES: Easy Solutions was founded 7 years ago the vision and the mission still is to be able to assist our clients here in our community obtain and achieve the ultimate American dream, which is owning a home. We help them with services like credit repair, the home loan process, the construction, and the insurance. We help them obtain their home from beginning to end.
SCI: As an employer partner, you also participate in our externship program that gives students real work-experience. Why are externships important in finding a job in Brownsville, TX?
ES: When I spent my time going to a private school in Austin, Texas, I found the need and importance in being a part of internships and externships. I was able to build a lot of great relationships and be exposed to a great working environment. It really made me a better student and person overall. [The externships] got me ready and gave me a competitive edge that as soon as I graduated I was able to build on those relationships and at the same time I was able to use that experience to be able to open up new opportunities. So, when I decided to move back to South Texas to start this company and was beginning to hire for our open jobs in Brownsville, TX, I decided to give that opportunity to students here as well. That’s when the relationship started with Southern Careers Institute. SCI has been wonderful–they’ve helped me right from the beginning. And it’s wonderful to have an ongoing externship program with them.
SCI: And have you hired SCI students for your open jobs in Brownsville, TX?
ES: Yes, I have. I’m proud to say that we’re one of the first employers that SCI gave an opportunity to and that trusted us enough to send students through the externship program. We’ve been working together going on two years now, and we’ve had a little bit over 15 externship students, and out of those 15, we have hired more than 50% of the students once they have completed their hours. So, it’s been a wonderful and successful relationship with SCI.
SCI: Why do you keep returning to SCI again and again to hire?
ES: Easy Solutions is always working to try and build and expand on what’s working. So we’ve realized that SCI and the students at SCI [have] a vital role with our growth and expansion as we continue to grow. It’s helping us expand on a very streamlined approach because we always valuable [job] candidates, in our pipeline. So as we’re expanding and opening up more locations, it’s making it easier for us to be able to hire people because we already have them in the process, training through the externship program. So, it really is working. One the struggles that a lot of small businesses have is that when they start growing their team, the management team is not able to keep up with the demand. That slows down the process, and it’s something that affects their day-to-day operations. That is one of the things that SCI has helped us with.
SCI: If someone’s trying to find an Easy Solutions job in Brownsville, TX, what are the qualities you are looking for?
ES: One of the things that I look for at my company, which is working, is trying to surround myself with like-minded people. One of the things that I really enjoy and look forward to working with SCI students is that they’re humble, hardworking, dedicated, good people overall. That’s something that we look for. We always pay attention not only to their credentials and previous experience, but most importantly, I want to know exactly who I am going to be having the pleasure of working with on a daily basis. I really focus on their soft-skills. I focus on the little things that build character and make you who you are. I’m very religious on self-development. SCI students are good, humble, hardworking students. That’s a perfect fit for our company. That is the culture that we have created.
SCI: So what programs of study do you hire from?
SC: We’ve been getting a good mix from different departments. It’s always good to get a good mix from different programs. If they come with an accounting background, or administrative assistant background, we try and plug them into different departments at our company. I understand that students focus on certain departments or certain classes to develop certain skills, but there’s nothing like putting them in the work environment. We have an amazing training and development program with the company. So regardless of their strength, if they have a good attitude and effort, we’re able to pretty much develop the skills necessary to put them in the best position to succeed.
SCI: So can you tell me how you feel about career training schools and the graduates you encounter there?
ES: One of the great things about my company is that we’re open-minded that has great working relationships with different career institutes. We work with private schools, we work with higher education universities, we understand that there are different needs for different positions at different times. One of the things we like to do is explore options and make sure we get the right candidate regardless of where the student comes from. At the end of the day, where you come from doesn’t define who you are and where you’re trying to get to. It really is up to you. That is something that I have always lived, with that approach and that mentality. I was born and raised in Cameron Park, very humble beginnings. I was a migrant worker growing up. That didn’t stop me from pursuing and achieving my goals, and I’m going to give that same opportunity to students at SCI.
SCI: Why are certifications and badges important to you in a hire for a job in Brownsville, TX?
ES: Even though we do look at other qualities and attributes when it comes to SCI students, it is important to get those credentials, get those certifications and get those badges and that exposure and training. At the end of the day for me and for upper management and HR, it shows how dedicated [you are], and how you gave that extra effort in pursuing and achieving and accomplishing [goals] here at SCI. In reality, it’s really up to you. That is what really impresses us and something that we look for.
SCI: Have you used SCI Connect, our employer-connecting platform yet?
ES: SCI Connect is a wonderful tool! Mrs. Linda is the one that shared the great opportunity with us. My wonderful assistant, Fabi, oversees SCI Connect, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I believe that right now with technology, we have to adapt to today’s needs, so having SCI Connect gives the opportunity for the employer to continue to grow and build the relationship with SCI and its students.
SCI: If there’s an alumnus that’s looking for a job in Brownsville, TX, what would be the advice that you would give them?
ES: Whenever an SCI student that has finished his or her studies, it is very important, first of all, to be in the right state-of-mind and have realistic expectations. That’s where it starts. Nothing is given, everything is earned. Just because you finish your studies, does not mean you have something guaranteed outside those doors. You need to understand that you need to continue to be persistent and aggressive towards your goals because that is how you’re going to open new windows of opportunity for yourself. So my best advice is that it really is up to you. The more you apply, the more relationships you build, the more calls that you make, the more offices or employers you visit and then you follow up with aggressively, the better position you’re putting yourself in to get hired and find the right fit for your education.
Sign up to learn more about our career training courses near you and online.
*This interview was edited for context, brevity, and clarity.