Resettlement Stories: Employment Hardships

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NPR recently reported on the hardships many resettled Iraqis face in the US, not least of which is securing employment.

Bahjat was hoping his experience — and engineering degree — would make him valuable here, maybe let him help the U.S. with its war on terrorism. Instead, after five months of cold-calling on stores and trawling job-search sites, he has received just one job offer, from a local hotel.

“I don’t blame them if they don’t respect my degree and my experience, but at the same time they should know that I served this country,” he says. “Me and my family, my brother and my sister, we served this country more than many Americans did.”

The article mentions a nonprofit organization named, Upwardly Global, that helps immigrants secure employment. Upwardly Global is partnered with The List Project as it has committed to helping all the Iraqis The List Project has resettled.

Bahjat’s frustrations are typical of many Iraqi refugees, says Jane Leu, executive director of the nonprofit group Upwardly Global. The State Department asked the group to help out, essentially admitting that there is not much the government can do for these Iraqis.


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