Each year, World Relief Seattle assists hundreds of refugees as they search for their first job in the United States. Refugees and immigrants bring a diverse set of skills and experiences to our communities, and in most cases, they quickly become contributing members of society.
But it doesn’t come without hard work.
Qasim Saud is no stranger to the uphill struggle faced by many immigrants in search of the ever-elusive American Dream. He and his family first arrived to Seattle in 2012 as refugees fleeing violence in Iraq. As a Mechanical Engineer who worked on reconstruction projects throughout the country, he was a skilled professional eager to contribute to the local workforce. Unfortunately, his experience and training did not easily translate to the US equivalent of his prior career. Nuanced systems and complex certifications can unintentionally work against many highly skilled new-Americans. The need for quick income to pay for immediate expenses can also result in the necessity to take any job available, regardless of career planning.
After years of hard work and sacrifice, Qasim is now working for the Rushing Company – a Seattle-based engineering consulting firm. He is currently working as a Revit Modeler, but eventually he hopes to become a Mechanical Design Engineer.
We asked Qasim to share his career-path story with the hope that others might be inspired by his journey.
My name is Qasim Saud. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iraq. I came to the USA for the first time in my life as a refugee in June 2012 . I prepared my resume according to the online resume template for the mechanical engineers who work here in the USA. I placed my self at a lower level from them. I did online job applications as average about 50 application per day. I didn’t care where these jobs were – my job search was in the whole USA. I used many websites like CareerBuilder, Monster and Indeed. I did many unsuccessful interviews by phone, face to face and Skype interviews. I learned many new things from each one. After three months with hard work, I got an opportunity in Lexington, KY as an Auto CAD and Revit Drafter. It was a contract job for 4 months only. When I completed my job there, I came back to job search here in WA again. I did two face to face interviews but I had reference, the KY job, at this time, and I got a nice job as a Revit modeler in Seattle with the Rushing Company. I worked with them for about one year and they told me if i got the EIT license, Engineer-In-Training license, I will work with them as a Mechanical Designer Engineer. In order to get the EIT license, I have to pass the FE exam, Fundamental Engineering exam. I did an application with the NCEES.org, which is responsible for this exam. I did this exam two times in Sacramento, CA but I did not pass, and I will do it for the third time in April.
I think everybody, who has similar backgrounds and circumstances, and who would like to get a job in my industry easily has to get at least one of the following:
1- Auto CAD or Revit license from “http://www.autodesk.com/“
2- EIT license, FE exam, with the “http://ncees.org/“
3- Auto CAD Drafting certificate from any community college.
Thanks with best wishes.
Unfortunately, Qasim is not the only skilled professional to face the Sisyphean task of starting a career all over again. What is even more frustrating is the fact that many local companies are in desperate need of skilled workers, especially in the tech and engineering sectors. In order to counter this waste of human potential, organizations around the country are working to connect skilled immigrants with businesses in want of specialized workers by eliminating barriers for talented immigrants like Qasim. If you, or your company (or your friend’s company), might be interested in hiring refugees, please get in touch with one of our Employment Specialists.
Thank you, Qasim. For sharing your story, and for reminding us to always follow our dreams.