Country of origin: Cape Verde
BEST Hospitality Training Affiliation: 2013-1 Room Attendant class; continued coaching; spoke at National Fund for Workforce Solutions Fifth Annual Meeting in Baltimore in June 2015.
Current Job: The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common, Housekeeping Attendant
Current Residence: Roxbury, MA

Margarida came to the United States in 2007 in search of a better life. In Cape Verde, she had her own restaurant, but in Boston, the best job she could find was making sandwiches at McDonald’s. Even after working there for six years and being promoted to shift supervisor, she received low wage and no benefits. In order to better support her two daughters, she took English classes at Burke High School where she learned about BEST Hospitality Training. She was accepted into the Room Attendant Training program in early 2013. After a six week full time training, she graduated in February 2013 and by March, she was working as a housekeeper at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, one of BEST Hospitality Training’s employer partners. She now earns almost $20/hour and her employer pays an additional $9.40/hour into a comprehensive benefit plan for her family.

“I didn’t have a resume, (BEST Hospitality Training) helped me make one. They taught me how to work in groups. They taught me how to be better at customer service. I learned so much there….  In my new job, “I have health insurance for me and my kids. I have dental insurance. I have sick days and holidays paid. It was like going from zero to 100. Before I made eight dollars an hour. Now I make 19. Before, I couldn’t take care of myself or my kids. Right now, I would say, I don’t need anybody.”

Margarida wants to buy her first house using the 10k home-buyers program that is one of her union benefits.  “I’m really excited. In the future I want to go back to school. I’m not saying I’m going to go to college but I just want to see myself a little bit higher. I’d like to learn English – I want to speak English well. Without this program, I don’t know where I’d be. I might be still working at McDonald’s.”