Ezra Salas Leads UEI-Stockton Students Toward Limitless Future

By Mark Apostolon
UEI College, Stockton, Campus President/Executive Director, Ezra Salas is a dynamic force, committed and driven by a desire to fulfill a need in the San Joaquin Central Valley community, by helping its families to potentially achieve greater financial security through education, technical training, certified courses and accredited curriculum. “It became a calling for me to help put people in a position where they could achieve a better life, a better career, and a better future,” Salas remarks with unbounded enthusiasm. “I thrive in knowing we are preparing people for a better situation and making sure they have more marketable skills through training.”
As Salas is well aware, the marketplace has changed considerably over the past 16 years. “Companies are now looking for a labor force that is already trained and knowledgeable—it wasn’t like that before.”
The economy has changed and while it has improved, companies have adapted to working with tighter and smaller annual budgets—so they can have the same output with a smaller staff. “For many skill-based jobs out there, there was a time where you could get hired for an entry-level position and learn skills on your way up either internally, or through additional training, paid in whole or in part by your employer, while you were on the job. That is rare, now.”
This means that instead of there being an entry-level position with a career path where you could move into higher levels, many companies are looking for people who are already trained at the higher levels who can also handle entry-level work. There are also companies that have compressed their entry, mid-range, and advanced-level positions into a single position. That’s just one job opening! “So, there’s a skillset-void for many people in our community. It’s not because they don’t have the aptitude – they do! We recognize that at UEI College, and want to equip our students with the skills to fill that void so that they become more marketable and desirable to companies in today’s marketplace. It’s all about the right education and training.”
Education and training have always been and continue to be important for Salas personally. A graduate of Heald College, with a business degree from St. Mary’s, and currently enrolled in the CSU Stanislaus Executive MBA Program, Ezra Salas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area raised in a single-parent home. “I think it’s important for people to know that,” Ezra says pointedly. “I grew up raised by a single Hispanic mom. We didn’t have everything; but we had everything we needed. I was defined not by what we had, or what we didn’t have. I was defined by the love of my family, my faith, and the understanding that I could persevere and succeed.”
Now living with his family in Modesto, Salas understands the needs of Central Valley families and people in need of long-term employment. It is an understanding that was instilled in him when he worked as a welfare-to-work case manager at El Concilio’s Manteca and Tracy offices. It continued when he returned to Heald’s Stockton campus as Vice President, then to their Modesto campus as President, and now at UEI College, Stockton campus. “You could say everything has come full-circle, bringing me back to Stockton and UEI College, working closely with the community and organizations like the Hispanic Chamber – there’s a sense of greater understanding and satisfaction in helping not only individuals, but knowing you’re helping families succeed.”
Looking over the UEI College Stockton campus, Salas’ leadership has a keen focus on knowing not only what students are looking for, but also what they need. “Our students come from many different backgrounds. Some may be single parents; some may be seeking to enter or change careers, or even move up; some may have gone to community or junior colleges but didn’t necessarily get the practical, hands-on training needed for the marketplace. Here, they know they can advance their career path, because they’ve seen their friends, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, or even their own mothers succeed – providing a better life for their families and their communities – by graduating from UEI College.”
Ezra Salas has a calling. It is a calling that drives him and motivates him; and, that motivation is a force that sustains him with a laser focus to meet the needs of his community so that they may aspire to greater things, a better job, a better life for their families and to hold their heads high with confidence in themselves. They are his cause. He is their advocate. It is they for whom he fights, because it is their future that he believes has the potential to be limitless.

Mark Apostolon

Mark Apostolon has been a professional writer for 40 years, beginning his career as a newspaper reporter and columnist. r. Apostolon has received three Emmy’s as well as has the Cine Golden Eagle, multiple regional and national awards plus 22 Emmy nominations.

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