Written by: Ellie McDermott, World Relief Seattle Employment Specialist
Aziz simply radiates warmth and friendliness.
When he sees you, he lights up and a smile quickly spreads across his face. Though he is still learning English, Aziz has a unique ability to communicate without much language.
He came to America in 2011 with his wife, four sons, some basic English, and twenty-plus years of cooking experience.
Through a combination of his warm personality and tremendous experience, Aziz has become a remarkable asset to the Bon Appétit kitchen crew at Seattle University.
According to manager Geoff Velasco, despite the language barrier, training Aziz was one of the easiest training experiences he has had. Drawing on visual cues and his vast experience, Aziz quickly picks up any task that his managers show him.
His direct supervisor, Blanca, says that Aziz is a good worker and is willing to do any task. He always does his job and knows how to use a knife well. When Aziz temporarily worked with the summer kitchen crew, Velasco says that the crew was sad to see Aziz leave their crew because he is such a hard worker.
Aziz likes his job because cooking is what he has always done. Though he is unable to fully communicate with his coworkers, he is successful at work because of his vast experience.
In addition to doing a job he knows and loves, Aziz likes working with his kitchen crew because they are nice, answer his questions, and help him when he needs help.
He is thankful to be able to live and work in a country where he gets paid for his work, his paycheck arrives on time, and he receives paid vacation time to spend with his family. In other countries he lived in prior to coming to the United States, people worked excessive hours and were not adequately compensated for their work.
Aziz notes that when he arrived to the United States, he received a lot of assistance from World Relief. Without this help, Aziz would have had a difficult time figuring out basic aspects of life in the United States, such as enrolling his children in school and filling out paperwork.
Aziz’s employment at Seattle University is a tremendous example of how everyone benefits from refugee employment; Aziz is able to use his skills to provide for his family, his coworkers benefit from his work ethic and experience, and his managers have a hardworking employee who contributes positively to the work environment.