Building a Brighter Future: John’s Story

Photo Credit: Christina Noel

In Venezuela I was at the top of my field. I worked for one of the largest financial groups in the world, and taught at a top-ranked university. But as circumstances in my country changed, I had to seek political asylum in the U.S., leaving my wife and young daughter behind.

When I arrived, I felt as if I had to relearn everything from scratch. The job search and interviewing process was so different from what I was used to in my home country. I felt isolated and like I would never fit in.

I worked a number of ‘survival jobs’ to get by. One of them was for a company that manufactured machinery for restaurants. The giant multi-level ovens and industrial creamers that you find in fast-food restaurants — I can build those from scratch.

I was grateful for these opportunities. These jobs are tough and require skills, and it gave me a different perspective on the workforce. But — for myself and my family — I wanted desperately to get back to a professional job.

John at home, displaying an industrial creamer from his manufacturing job. Photo credit: Christina Noel

I decided to reinvent myself and retrain for a career in data analytics. Fortunately, I had Upwardly Global as a partner in this journey. My job coach was amazing at helping me build my professional profile as a data analytics professional, and UpGlo’s Job Search Program gave me the tools to land my current job at IFF — an organization that provides financing to nonprofits and community organizations.

Photo Credit: Christina Noel

Understanding the American job market and its nuances helped me to become a better, more efficient contributor at work, and I’m proud that I’m putting my new skills to work creating positive change in communities.

I am so grateful for the time I am now able to spend with my family, and we have been warmly welcomed by our neighbors.

UpGlo opened the door to a brighter future in this country — a future in which I can truly contribute my skills to my community.

Photo credit: Christina Noel

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Upwardly Global is a national nonprofit organization that works to eliminate employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees.