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Former refugee wins GA Electrical Apprentice of the year

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Forced to flee his home country of Iran, Babak first arrived in Atlanta in December 2013 through the refugee resettlement program. The IRC in Atlanta’s Economic Empowerment team worked with Babak to help him improve his English and become acclimated to the U.S. work environment and he quickly found work in the restaurant industry.   

Babak shows off his skills at the Electrical Apprentice of the Year Competition in Indianapolis.

Having majored in construction back in Iran, Babak was determined to become a licensed electrician and build a career for himself in his new home. Long-time IRC Career Development volunteer, Norman Slawsky, supported Babak to find an apprenticeship and, after several months of persistence, he secured a full-time job as an electrician’s assistant with ECI and enrolled in the Georgia Electrical Apprenticeship program. "I was looking for something to do where I could make money faster than going to university," explained Babak. "I knew when I finished I would already have four years of experience in electrical, but if I go to university after four years to finish, I’d just have a degree and I wouldn’t have experience.”   

Babak, now a qualified Journeyperson Electrician, with IRC Career Development volunteer, Norman Slawsky.

Photo: Jade Johnson

Four years after they first met, Babak returned to the IRC office to meet with Norman and share the exciting news that not only is he now a fully qualified Journeyperson Electrician, but he also won the Georgia Electrical Apprentice of the Year Award and was invited to participate in the national competition in Indianapolis!  

Babak receives the Georgia Electrical Apprentice of the Year Award in Indianapolis.

It’s been a difficult journey for Babak, but he remained focused on his long-term goals and his hard work and dedication paid off. “It’s been a very hard path, because the construction area is very hard to get involved, but fortunately I made it. The only thing I can say is just everybody should be patient. Look at what you want and the negative things that affect you, then just go straight and stay on your path.”   

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 Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.

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