DENVER — A mobile application developed in Colorado is helping connect Hispanics to employers across the United States.
Jesus Gutierrez owns 3 Margaritas in Broomfield. The family-run business has relied on word of mouth to bring staff on board for decades. Gutierrez said this method desperately needed an upgrade in a world of technology.
“Every time we needed a new staff member, we always asked one of our cooks or dishwashers,” Gutierrez said.
Diego Montemayor is the founder of the app Chamba, which is Spanish slang for "work," and Gutierrez and Corina Hierro are founding team members. The app is run by a team of Hispanic entrepreneurs helping Spanish speakers navigate the labor industry and connecting employers with potential employees to keep their businesses running.
The bilingual app targeting Hispanics allows users to apply for jobs posted by employers for free, and employers are charged a fee. So far, more than 70,000 users have signed up for job notifications. The jobs cover more than 50 categories across the U.S. ranging from construction to hospitality and also includes white collar jobs.
Gutierrez and his team recognize that Hispanics are wary of providing personal information, which is why the app only requires a name, phone number, address and email.
“We made it easier for the Latino community to find work,” Gutierrez said.
Hispanics in the workforce grew by nearly 18 million between 1990 and 2020, and it’s projected to reach nearly 36 million by 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The top sectors Hispanics occupy include farming and fishing, building, grounds cleaning and maintenance, construction, food preparation, and transportation.
The restaurant sector has struggled to recover from the pandemic. Many businesses in operation are short-staffed, including Jennie Pho in Broomfield. John Trinh, the owner of Jennie Pho, experienced unexpected growth during the pandemic.
“We were struggling to find enough kitchen staff and servers,” Trinh said.
A few friends, including Gutierrez, convinced him to try the app.
“This app actually gave me the quickest response,” Trinh said. “I found a couple of servers and a couple of kitchen staff through the app just within two to three days of posting the jobs.”
“We do so much to come to this country, so when we do get here, we really do come to work,” Gutierrez said.
He estimates the app has helped fill at least a couple thousand jobs since it launched.