• OnWord Partner

Chemical Engineer at UMass

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

Yaregal couldn't believe his luck when he learned he had received a visa to live and work in the US. As a recent graduate in chemical engineering, the prospect of becoming a professional in the United States was more than he could have dreamed of. Unfortunately, when he arrived in Boston, reality set in.

“Yaregal had a significant career set-back when he arrived in Boston, but when we began working together, I was struck by his positive attitude, hopefulness and determination. Sometimes, my clients give me as much hope and courage as I give them.”

In 2016, Yaregal graduated from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia with a Bachelor of Science degree. Yaregal then took up work as a Quality Assurance Associate at East Africa Bottling Share Company. Later, he began to pursue opportunities in Addis Ababa University’s Chemical Engineering Department where he became a Entrepreneurship Trainee and Lab Management Trainee. In his line of work, Yaregal earned both an Entrepreneurship Certificate and a Laboratory Management System Development & Implementation Certificate.

Yaregal won his coveted green card and work authorization through the diversity immigrant visa lottery and came to the US with high expectations that his degree in chemical engineering would land him a job. Yet despite his degree, his certifications, and his years of work experience, Yaregal spent 9 months in a customer service job at Milfield Concessions and 5 months as a cashier at 7 Eleven. Instead of working with laboratory management systems and reverse osmosis technology and pyrolysis process projects, as he had been before, Yaregal had to man the register at a convenience store.

This is the type of story that initially inspired our mission at OnWord Partner. We saw the struggles of skilled immigrants and refugees like Yaregal, and made it our purpose to provide the support they need in their journey to become professionally integrated in the U.S. Yaregal saw this support as invaluable, if not critical, in his own road to success.

Yaregal’s work with us at OnWord consists mostly of guidance and advising, the refining of interview skills and career exploration. Just weeks after first reaching out to us, Yaregal was able to begin a job with Pulpdent per diem as production technician for dentures. Yaregal also worked with Shelly on his application to the MS Chemical Engineering program at the University of Massachusetts, so that he would be able to expand on his previous expertise. Now, Yaregal is studying for his GRE and TOEFL exams and looking forward to a better future in this country.

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