We can all benefit from the sound advice and strong guidance of a mentor as we make our way in our careers. This can be especially true for newcomers to America, who may not be familiar with the job market for their particular field of interest, and are yet to establish a strong network to connect them with the right employers.
Such was the case for Amevi, who moved to the United States from his native Togo after winning the Diversity Visa Lottery program in 2016. Living in Clarkston, Amevi was working for $9.50 per hour in the busy seafood section of the DeKalb Farmer’s Market when he happened to meet one of the IRC in Atlanta’s dedicated Career Development volunteers, Paul Parisi. As the two got talking, Paul inquired about Amevi’s background and told him about IRC’s Career Development program. This brief encounter led to Amevi enrolling in the program and the team soon helped him apply for an evaluation of his academic credentials from Togo.
Within a few weeks, Amevi was notified that he had the equivalent of a high school diploma in the U.S. and shortly after, was connected to Bob Davis, his new Career Development volunteer mentor. Amevi had worked briefly in Togo as an electrical apprentice and expressed a desire to become a licensed electrician. Bob, a retired construction manager who once owned his own plumbing business, felt he could offer guidance and support to anyone pursuing a career in the construction trades. Matching Bob with Amevi was a natural fit.
Bob quickly took the young man under his wing, devoting countless hours of support and counseling. He helped Amevi enroll in a GED class to broaden his education, assisted him in his job search and with applications, helped to refine his resume, coached him in how to prepare for job interviews, and even taught him to drive and helped him acquire his first American driver’s license!
But the most exciting breakthrough came when Bob supported Amevi in applying for a position as an electrical apprentice at Pat Murphy Electric, a local company serving customers throughout the Atlanta area. Pat Murphy works closely with Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), a local association that helps non-union electrical companies recruit qualified workers to participate in an apprenticeship training program. Bob accompanied Amevi to IEC, where Amevi took qualifying exams to enter the program and passed with flying colors.
The many hours that Bob and Amevi invested in their partnership finally paid off. The hiring manager at Pat Murphy was impressed with Amevi’s background and agreed to offer him a position. Taking the first important step along the path to a career as an electrician, Amevi is now also one step closer to realizing his personal American dream.