Throughout her 10 years in educational leadership and her work in the nonprofit sector, Lorena Aguayo-Marquez has worn many hats. Now, she wants to focus on the work that truly motivates her.

That’s why Aguayo-Marquez, program assistant for adult education programs at Grand Rapids Community College, signed up for the Latino Talent Initiative, a professional development program established in 2014 by the Latino Economic and Business Development Center (LEBDC) at Ferris State University.

“I’ve honed some of my skills (through the program),” she said. “One of the things I discovered was that I’ve been through a lot of workplaces doing a lot of different things, and I want to use my skills in the ways I’m passionate about.

“I want to focus on human rights and immigration rights.”

The five-month-long Latino Talent Initiative is run by Hispanics for Hispanics. Classes meet from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays, once a month, at the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building at Kendall College of Art and Design.

Carlos Sanchez, director of the LEBDC, said the program begins in October and concludes in March; it consists of an orientation followed by four sessions led by different facilitators on cultural awareness, leadership, professional development and civic engagement.

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