National job fair stops in Aurora to help Afghan and Ukrainian refugees get a fresh start
Ahmad Siddiqi knows the difficulties of coming to the United States and looking for a job.
The Afghan refugee and his family moved to Broomfield after the Taliban took over Kabul in 2021. Siddiqi has been unemployed for a very long time due to documents and other issues.
“Lately, I have a job. But, I am not a person who would stop. I have bigger dreams and I want to continue,” Siddiqi said.
Siddiqi, who spent two decades as an interpreter for U.S. soldiers and high-ranking diplomats, hoped to realize those dreams at a job fair at Aurora Community College for Afghan and Ukrainian refugees from the metro. from Denver who are new to the United States.
The Denver job fair is the fifth in a series hosted by Welcome.US, a national initiative supporting Afghan and Ukrainian refugees fleeing unrest in their respective countries, and REACT DC, which supports refugees through job placement and sponsorship.
Twenty-eight employers were on hand to accept applications and conduct interviews for entry-level and lower-level positions. A CV workshop and translators have been made available for assistance.
United Airlines was one such employer present. Denver’s largest airline offered positions in customer service, project management, administrative roles and analytics.
“United is very focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. And it’s absolutely part of our everyday world,” said Ed Eget, head of talent acquisition at United Airlines.
“We would certainly like to have employees from all walks of life. Our CEO, Scott Kirby, sits on the Board of Directors. It helps us to welcome us to support the Afghans from the start and we really want to do our best to hire as many as possible. »
Some employers like Extended Stay America have hired locally.
“My company has followed suit and we’ve held several job fairs across the United States. I couldn’t tell you exactly how many people we’ve hired, but it’s in the hundreds,” Adrian Stroescu said. , regional vice president of operations at Extended. Rest America. “We have a very diverse group of people. In fact, we have brought with us several Afghans that we have hired in the past who were not related to the job fair. They are sitting right next to us at our table.And that was a little bonus that we had by having these guys and being able to talk about their experience with us.
The fair was the perfect time for Ukrainian refugee Yevheniya Karkina. She and her family fled the country when Russia invaded Ukraine. Karkin had just received his work permit after a long process. The fair gave him hope of finding a job.
“I was very happy when I heard about this event,” the mother-of-one said. “They can help me organize my CV. I can find and meet knowledgeable people who can advise me on what field, what direction I should take to get a job.
Karkina’s husband is still waiting for a work permit. He was a restaurant owner and chef when the family left Ukraine. Karkina worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She said she would eventually like to return to her area of expertise.
“Before, I worked in the legal field, social support. I’ve worked on domestic violence and human trafficking projects,” Karkina said. “So if I could find a job here that can help people keep the peace and not be raped like no any kind of abuse, I would be very happy.”
Siddiqi wants to go into management. But, he didn’t find it at the job fair. He said most employers told him he was overqualified for the positions they offered. For him, it’s all part of the process.
“For me, I [am] used to it now,” Siddiqi said. “They will look at my CV if they have any comments.”
On the contrary, Siddiqi is happy for his community.
“I’ve seen so many people with lots of happy faces going around these tables and getting good news, being accepted, being promised and at least getting different flyers that they’ll get a second or third interview. That opens up many doors or windows for my people to be here.