The IRC in Atlanta’s partnership with the Technology Career Program (TCP) at TechBridge—an Information Technology (IT) training course—has helped more than 20 refugees and immigrants to gain a head start in the rapidly growing technology industry over the past year. One recent TCP graduate, Maiwand—who was evacuated from Afghanistan last fall—has gone above and beyond in his commitment to the program, and shares with us below his journey to rebuilding his life and career here in Atlanta.
We both were happy and working hard for our future, we had dreams and plans for the future.
Maiwand and his wife were welcomed by the IRC in Atlanta in Fall 2021. Originally from Afghanistan, Maiwand’s family fled to Pakistan in the early 1990s to escape the civil war in their home country. While there, he completed his high school education before his family returned to Afghanistan in 2005. He then left his homeland again to pursue a scholarship from Osmania University in India and received his bachelor’s degree in E-Commerce. Returning to Afghanistan in 2013, Maiwand built a career in the office of the Attorney General of Afghanistan and married his wife—a schoolteacher—In 2020. “We both were happy and working hard for our future, we had dreams and plans for the future,” Maiwand shared. “But after the sudden collapse of the Afghan government, the international forces withdrawal, and the Taliban took over, I quit the job and was staying home. Luckily me and my wife were among the thousands of other Afghans airlifted by the U.S. Army.”
But the journey to safety in Georgia was long and complicated. First, the couple were flown to Qatar, where they spent one week on a U.S. Army base before moving to Italy for an additional week of processing, before making the flight across the Atlantic to Philadelphia. Maiwand and his wife then spent two months at the ‘Safe Haven’ in Fort Bliss, Texas, where thousands of Afghans awaited next steps in their resettlement process. Finally, their case was assigned to the IRC in Atlanta office, and they were welcomed to Georgia in October 2021.
Eager to rebuild his career, Maiwand connected with the IRC in Atlanta’s Career Development team and enrolled in the TechBridge TCP early in 2022, with all training costs covered by scholarships provided by generous IRC supporters. He spent 16 weeks studying technology skills and ultimately earned the industry recognized CompTIA ITF+ certification. Generous support from the Hearst Foundation allowed the IRC to provide Afghan evacuees with additional scholarships to support with living expenses while enrolled in technology training programs, and ultimately made this dream possible for many IRC clients, like Maiwand.
A standout student in his cohort, classmates and instructors alike praised Maiwand’s work ethic. “Every time I met with TechBridge for weekly meetings, they had nothing but positive things to say about Maiwand’s determination and positive attitude,” shared IRC Career Pathways Specialist, Sam Camirand. He secured a full-time position as a Matching Grant Administrative Specialist with Inspiritus—a partner resettlement agency—In July 2022. “As I myself am a refugee, working with an organization who serve and render services to refugees is a great experience for me,” Maiwand shared. “Thanks to TechBridge and IRC for helping me to sharpen my IT skills. My future plan is to continue and enhance my IT skills.”
TechBridge Cohort and CompTIA ITF+ Certification was a great achievement for me, it was the first step for me to build my career in this country. It cleared the skill development and personal development path for me.
TechBridge’s TCP is designed specifically to address barriers to financial mobility and improved economic impact. Following study and certification, TechBridge graduates are considered for full-time, permanent positions at large, well-respected companies. Accenture, in particular, has committed to interviewing and hiring a large percentage of IRC TCP graduates. With several tracks of study in the IT field, IRC clients enter the program earning an average of $14/hour and leave with job placements starting at $50k salaries and topping out at six figure offers. “Thanks to you, Sam, and your team for helping me to get enroll in TechBridge IT certification. TechBridge Cohort and CompTIA ITF+ Certification was a great achievement for me, it was the first step for me to build my career in this country. It cleared the skill development and personal development path for me. TechBridge study sessions, instructors, and mentors who were involved in this program were an inspiration for me.”
The IRC in Atlanta’s Career Development program is excited to continue this important partnership with TechBridge—with two active cohorts currently in progress—and is currently recruiting participants for Spring 2023! If you are interested in participating in this program in the future, please contact Career Pathways Specialist, Sam Camirand, at [email protected].
To learn more about contributing to the IRC in Atlanta’s Career Development Program Scholarship Fund and further supporting economic mobility for new Americans who are rebuilding their lives, please contact Senior Development Manager, Heloise Ahoure, at [email protected] or 678-636-8941.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Senior Development Manager, Heloise Ahoure, at [email protected] or 678-636-8941.