International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Shams: A Success Story

ShamsShams Yousif arrived in the U.S. in June 2011 as a refugee from Iraq.  She had basic English skills and experience as a sales associate/receptionist in Iraq.   She was determined to find a good job and establish a stable future for herself and her family members in San Diego. 

Shams learned about IRC’s SWITCH (San Diego Workforce Initiative Towards Careers in Healthcare) Program which offers tuition assistance for healthcare training programs, in addition to many other services. After an interview, she was enrolled in the program but her English skills were not quite up to par.  

The IRC enrolled her in our month long course which focused on English (with an emphasis on medical terminology), work readiness training (U.S. job search process - how to fill out an application, resume writing, and practice interviews), and study skills. 

She then felt ready to attend a Medical Office Administrator and Medical Billing certificate program. 

She says, “The SWITCH program helped me with everything by funding my studies for 8 months, providing transportation assistance, with great advice in job searches and recommended websites.”

Once she received her certificate, Shams set about looking for a job.  She was very motivated and submitted over 100 resumes. She eventually got an interview at Family Health Centers of San Diego.  The SWITCH Program had prepared her well as she easily passed their medical terminology assessment and shined in the interview.   The hiring manager was impressed by her skills and the fact that she was bi-lingual in English and Arabic.  She received and accepted a job offer as the Medical Records Clerk.  

Shams said, “The IRC SWITCH team helped me to get a job beyond what I could dream of.”

Congratulations Shams!

Photo by Andrea Wong/The IRC

Click here to learn more about the IRC Employment and Career Development Programs.

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