Published 10.04.23

From HACU conference to Cintas partner, a new career begins

Jose L. hired as Management Trainee at annual event

Jose L. wasn’t sure what to expect at the 2022 Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) annual conference in San Diego, but he left with a career as a Cintas Management Trainee. 


The California State University, San Bernardino student certainly wasn’t expecting that outcome. Equipped with a stack of resumes, Jose’s goal was to make connections – and if he was lucky, a company would set up an interview a couple of weeks later.  


Jose navigated an aisle system filled with recruiters who sat at tables and passed out information to prospective hires.  


That’s when he crossed paths with Nancy Solis, a recruiter for Cintas. Solis, a Campus Talent Acquisition Manager for Rental in the Western Territory, was in the aisle, proactively handing out business cards and talking to candidates.  


“She said, ‘Hey, you look like a leader.’ That was her opening, and she got my attention,” Jose said.  


He learned more about Cintas’ Management Trainee program, which identifies promising recent college graduates and gives them the tools to succeed in leadership roles. By recruiting these grads and promoting from within, Cintas builds sustainable leadership.  


Solis’ conversation with Jose led to an interview the next day with Toby Atkinson, Cintas’ Director of DEI & Management Programs. Jose was extended a Management Trainee offer. He accepted.  


He started at Cintas as a First Aid & Safety partner in Ontario, Calif. on June 8, 2023. 


“We are so grateful to have found Jose through the HACU network,” said Alex Ward, General Manager of Cintas First Aid & Safety and Jose’s supervisor. “Not only does he bring great diversity of thought, but his mind for business and ability to ask questions has made us better. I’m excited to see all Jose accomplishes in his career.” 


HACU represents more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States, Latin America, Spain and school districts throughout the U.S. The organization’s mission is to promote the development of member institutions and improve post-secondary educational opportunities for Hispanic students while providing resources, information and expertise. 


Cintas has attended the HACU conference for the last four years to recruit, showcase its culture and identify talented and diverse candidates while building lasting partnerships with Hispanic-serving institutions. 


Jose’s attendance at the HACU conference is a story unto itself. To work as a Cal State San Bernardino tour guide (which he did for nearly nine months), he was required to complete a research project about the university. He spent hours at the school’s career center studying and identifying resources for Hispanic and Latino students. 


That’s how he found out about HACU scholarships. He applied for one and was accepted. 


Before the conference, he participated in workshops at the university, peer-edited his classmates’ resumes and underwent interviews to practice his skills.  


His preparation, business studies and positive attitude aligned with Cintas.  


“We’re thrilled to be working with HACU for the fourth consecutive year,” Atkinson said. “We are even more excited about hiring more talent like Jose, who has a promising career at Cintas.” 


In his role as an MT, Jose will be part of hands-on rotations in all areas of the business to see where he fits best. He’s also part of TODOS, Cintas’ Partner Business Resource Group (PBRG) dedicated to supporting Hispanic and Latin partners. 


Jose was born in Mexico but his family moved to California when he was a baby. A first-generation college graduate, Jose’s roots have become more important to him as he has grown older. 


“I see more and more of the importance of holding on to that heritage. I see it a lot in my parents, my grandparents. It’s always nice when we just all sit down and everyone celebrates the fact that we’re able to understand each other and the fact that we’re into the same things. It’s just super cool,” Jose said. 


“Heritage is always going to be part of the identity that you carry and it adds to your character,” he continued. “I feel like that’s what makes me ‘me.’” 


Jose is bilingual and someday hopes to teach First Aid and CPR classes in Spanish.  


His trajectory from HACU attendee to Cintas employee-partner has been a whirlwind and a success. And he may just be at the next conference to share his story.