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Driving Towards the Finish Line

By Sarah Sharp, Case Management Intern for Daily Work

Mohamed was working two part-time jobs, pushing carts at a major retailer and working in a small grocery store, when his sister referred him to Daily Work. Mohamed knew that cleaning bathrooms, pushing carts, and stocking shelves didn’t fit his vision of his preferred job. He aspired to be a driver, work that he previously did in Ethiopia when he used to chauffer “bosses”. As a newcomer to America, he didn’t have a resume and completing job applications was really difficult for him. When he did get job interviews, multiple employers told him to return after his English improves. But what does learning more English really mean?

Imagine moving to Ethiopia, where Mohamed is from, and trying to find employment. Learning Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, is a logical step. But anyone who has tried to learn a new language knows that language acquisition isn’t just about memorizing words and phrases. It also involves understanding cultural norms and values in order to realize the full picture. For Mohamed, this meant that he had to learn more English and learn about current expectations in American workforce culture.

Again, imagine moving to Ethiopia. Would you know how to find a job there? Is there a job application process for some jobs or do you have to network and know someone? Is there an interview process? All of these customs would take time to learn.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com

For job seekers like Mohamed, filling out applications can be difficult because many questions require nuanced answers. For example; “Why did you leave a previous job?” or “Describe any skills relevant to this position” can be hard for anyone to answer, but it is especially difficult for English language learners. Many employers require pre-employment assessments that measure an applicants’ attitudes and motivations. How would you know what the acceptable answer is if you are not familiar with current workplace values?

Daily Work is a bridge for hardworking people like Mohamed who struggle with these aspects of employment and more. Daily Work case managers helped him to locate English classes and assisted him with creating a resume and completing job applications.

Thanks to Mohamed’s perseverance and hard work, he was hired not just for one new job, but two! He currently works as a driver at Kuality Transportation and makes $13 an hour, two dollars more per hour more than his previous jobs. In January, he accepted a second job as a rental car driver at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport.

Mohamed admits with a laugh that he is very busy working nearly 50 hours per week and that life is no longer “boring”. He says the case managers at Daily Work made him feel “good because they understand” and were able to help him meet his goal of finding employment as a driver. In the future he wants to return to Daily Work to seek assistance with applying for college. When asked about what Daily Work means to him, Mohamed held both of his thumbs high in the air and said, “If it is difficult to get a job, come here.”

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