By Siba Chehab, Employment Specialist
As any other refugee arriving to a new place to call home, Fiston had a mix of feelings when he arrived in Baltimore three years ago. He was excited to build a successful life, but he was also worried. “When I arrived I thought maybe I will go to high school, but I couldn’t as I was 21 years old.” Fiston was advised by the IRC employment team to start working first, and he soon began a job at a restaurant.
Fiston wanted to be a lawyer, but initially faced financial and language barriers. In February 2018, he decided not to limit himself to working in a restaurant. He started pursuing a GED and attending general studies courses at Baltimore City Community College until he could figure out his next steps.
With ongoing support and guidance from IRC’s employment specialists, Fiston became interested in the health care field. He enrolled in the IRC-sponsored Central Services Technician vocational training course at the Community College of Baltimore County, where he learned how to sterilize and manage medical supplies. Following the course, he found a job at Sinai Hospital while also receiving ongoing advanced job readiness and professional networking training at the IRC.
He now continues to work another part time restaurant job to save money to pursue his next goal of studying pharmacy. Fiston shared that he was “satisfied how my life is changing, and I believe that the [IRC training sessions] will be a great asset for me to develop my career, future and connections by putting together the right resume, doing the job search and communicating with the right people.”
Siba Chehab, one of the employment specialists that assisted Fiston at the IRC, had previously worked in refugee protection with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Syria. When she started working at the IRC in Baltimore in the summer of 2019, Fiston was one of the first clients she met. It was immediately clear to her that Fiston was an ambitious, goal-oriented individual.
Working with clients like Fiston, she shared, confirmed her desire to continue working with refugees and immigrants: “When I joined IRC as an employment specialist, my motive became beyond getting a job or even a career; it was more of a passion to help the population to overcome difficulties and achieve their dreams. Since then, I have witnessed lots of impressive success stories.”
Fiston is among the many brilliant immigrants and refugees that the IRC in Baltimore is proud to work with. He is not only succeeding, but also doing the best he can to serve the communities that welcomed him in Baltimore. He shared: “I feel that whenever I accomplish something, my goals become of higher level.”
If you are interested in supporting the IRC’s work in Baltimore:
consider making a one-time or recurring donation.
If you are interested in hiring IRC clients at your business:
email HireBmore.Refugees [at] rescue.org to discuss next steps.
If you are interested in requesting IRC’s employment services:
complete this appointment request form or call 410-327-1885, extension 111 to set up an appointment.