They worked hard and sacrificed a lot. They spent days, months and years working to help the American mission succeed in Iraq. They were intimidated, but were very persistent to continue their struggle against humanity enemies. But life is too short to lose. Eventually, they had to leave. Their friends were killed, burned, and tortured and their heads were supposed to be next. Their crime, insurgents believe, was helping the “evil” Americans.
These are the Iraqi employees who worked as translators, interpreters, project managers and cultural advisors to serve the U.S. government and its contractors in Iraq.
For some time, these Iraqis believed they were trapped and abandoned and their fate would be like that of their slaughtered friends and colleagues. But when The List Project reached out to them, these locked doors were opened and their lives were finally spared when they made it safe to America, after a long bureaucratic process.
Each one of these Iraqis had a story, if not several ones. Each witnessed what no human being on earth could ever imagine. I was there. I was in their shoes and know how it feels to work day and night in the midst of that horror.
Now, they are in America starting a new life. Their first step is finding a job. And here the hands were extended to them.
Last weekend, The List Project, Upwardly Global and Manpower Inc. collaborated to offer a Career Summit, the first-of-its-kind career orientation workshop for 50 Iraqi refugees at Holland & Knight and Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Once resettled, the Iraqi refugees face many challenges. One of the most difficult one is often finding themselves unemployed and in need of assistance. In the Career Summit, Upwardly Global helped the highly-skilled Iraqis, refugees and asylees advising them of how to reclaim their careers in the United States. The two-day workshop they held included sessions on résumé writing, interviewing techniques and developing networking skills. Manpower Inc. invited employers in the Washington, D.C. area to learn about the wealth of experience and skills these Iraqi professionals bring to the greater D.C.-area labor market. Employers and other invited guests had the opportunity to meet Iraqi job seekers, and discuss their unique expertise and career interests.
The summit was more than a success. Participants expressed their hope and were very happy to see such an effort being made for them to be able to live and work in their new home.