Cristina Ledsema

Associate of Applied Science in Paraeducator

Cristina Ledsema moved to the United States with her family when she was 14 years old. Settling in the Yakima Valley she began working in the local agriculture industry as farmworker. After years of working in this field, she decided to attend YVC in pursuit of her GED, an opportunity that had never been available to her. In 1995, she was hired to work at Prosser’s ConAgra Foods and put her goal of earning a GED on hold. When the company closed in May 2010, Ledesma was one of the many employees who lost their jobs. Determined to finally earn her GED, she again enrolled at YVC and completed her studies in spring 2012. Encouraged by her instructors, she began taking college-level courses in the summer of 2012. Through the efforts of YVC’s Worker Retraining Program Ledesma also learned that she also qualified for the Trade Act. The Trade Act is a federal program that helps assist students who were dislocated from a company whose goods/services were distributed internationally. This funding allowed her to focus on her studies without facing the financial burdens of being a student. “I would not have been able to accomplish this goal without YVC and funding from the Worker Retraining Program,” stated Cristina Ledesma. Ledesma will graduate this summer with an associate of applied science degree in paraeducator. After graduation she plans to seek employment in the Yakima Valley and hopes to work with elementary school children.