Lupe Martinez has dedicated his entire career to serving the underserved populations in Wisconsin. He recently celebrated 41 years as president and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based UMOS. Under his leadership, UMOS has grown from a single state organization with a solitary focus on helping migrant and seasonal farm workers to a nationally recognized multi-state organization with more than 40 programs.
Today, UMOS serves three primary areas – child development, social services and workforce development – and has operations throughout the state, as well as in Minnesota, Missouri and Texas.
Martinez grew up in a migrant worker family that traveled throughout the Midwest harvesting crops.
Today, UMOS has a mission to advocate for and provide programs and services that improve the employment, education, health and housing opportunities of all underserved populations.
According to Rod Ritcherson, special assistant to the president at UMOS, the organization has strategically built up each of its program divisions throughout the years.
UMOS operates two of the state’s largest workforce development programs in Milwaukee: Wisconsin Works and the Transform Milwaukee Jobs Program, Ritcherson said.
Martinez is focused on diversified services and a holistic approach to serving the community. Under his direction, UMOS staff is focused on funding opportunities for supportive services including food pantries, emergency rental assistance, child care assistance, GED education, English as a Second Language and transportation assistance.
These services act as complements to the organization’s primary services, which meet the immediate needs of job seekers and other clients.
According to Ritcherson, more than 20,000 people seek assistance from the UMOS Job Center each month.
UMOS is recognized as the largest Hispanic-managed, nonprofit organization in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the nation, with more than $25 million in grant revenues.