The average Joe flipping burgers is an easy image to summon whenever anyone thinks about McDonald’s, while finding your path to a career at such an establishment is a course many of us do not even realize is filled with oportunidad. Gilberto Vasquez, 26, Store Manager of the 1604 and Shaenfield location, is no stranger to the stereotypes of a San Antonio Westside Latino. A Memorial High School graduate, he has seen people full of potential never break out of the mentality, or stigma, that society sees fit to keep us under. From riding the bus and walking 2-3 miles just to get to work, to now a newlywed who owns his own house and car, Vasquez has certainly taken every opportunity available to him to better his situation and education through the Archways to Opportunity program at McDonald’s. Such programs are available to their employees to assist them on their journey to success.
Working at McDonald’s as a first job tends to be a rite of passage for many. For Gilberto Vasquez, it was a matter of family as his mom helped him get his first position at the restaurant during his Senior year of high school. As a part-time crewmember, Vasquez worked after school only a few days out of the week to keep up with his academics and extracurricular activities. After graduating high school in 2013, Vasquez continued to work at the fast food eatery, working his way to Trainer, then Store Manager in 2017. Throughout those years, he enrolled in the Archways to Opportunity program for higher education, which pays for 43% of his tuition at Colorado Technical University (CTU) in which he will graduate from with an online Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in June 2021. The program has already helped him achieve his Associates Degree in the same field of study. Now, Vasquez acts as a mentor and role model for those employees who want to grow and learn as well, but may not have the means to or simply do not know how. He encourages others to take advantage of the educational programs offered through Archways. Vasquez’s main goal is to continue to grow in the company and eventually, become an entrepreneur, a leader in small business, and be his own boss. He credits his parents for keeping him on the right path.
Vaquez leaves us with these *consejos, “I’d encourage [people] to be different…Follow your dreams. There are going to be obstacles in your life, but you can manage how to get through.” Palabras to live by, gente. We never have to be the stereotype, and can break through those generalizations.
For more information about Archways to Opportunity, visit: https://www.archwaystoopportunity.com/about_archways.html