“Now My Family Has a Future”: Mehmet’s Story

Upwardly Global
2 min readDec 19, 2019


My wife and I were living our dreams in Turkey, our home country. We had met by chance in a cafe and later married. We both had careers we loved: She was a lawyer, and I did IT and research work for the government. We were expecting our first child.

And then, in 2016, there was an attempted coup.

My family fled. We applied for asylum in the U.S. Six months later, I received my work permit. I was desperate to start working again. The 180-day wait for the work permit felt like forever: We had less than $1,000 to survive on as a family of three.

My resume was ready and my confidence was high. But after six months and more than 200 job applications, I received no leads. I tried everything to support my family: I washed dishes, delivered food, drove for a ride-share company. Some weekends I drove for more than 36 hours to pay the rent.

Then I found Upwardly Global. My job coach was the first person in the U.S. who took the time to listen to my whole story. She understood — she’d supported hundreds of people in my situation. She taught me about the U.S. job search process, what to expect in an interview, and helped me edit my resume. UpGlo invited me to networking events and made introductions to other IT professionals in my new city.

There was nothing like this in Turkey — networking was all new to me. UpGlo helped me figure it out.

With UpGlo’s support, I got a job offer — and expert advice in salary negotiations, another concept that was completely foreign to me.

I am now working in data analytics. This job was a key to a new life in America. Now my family has a future. My wife has enrolled in classes to launch a new career in IT. My son is thriving in preschool.

We are grateful for the opportunity to start a new life in this country — and for the support from Upwardly Global that ensured that starting over didn’t mean starting from the bottom.

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Upwardly Global

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