Five years ago, as civil war raged in his home country of Yemen, Khaled Faaed applied for the U.S. Diversity Visa lottery. The annual lottery is a random chance for persons from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S., like Yemen, to live here. With so many applicants, the odds of winning the lottery are very low.
Khaled was fortunate. His name was drawn. Still, he felt torn.
“I was both happy and afraid, and it was the most difficult decision in my life” said Khaled, 37. “My wife and I have close family and friends that we would miss. I had a good job at the Central Bank of Yemen. We did not know much about the culture in America. But the war had made things horrible in Yemen, and I felt that God had given us this opportunity to get away from this bad situation and make a better life for our family.”
Because of the strong Yemeni community in the Detroit area, Khaled’s family settled in Hamtramck. Although he is an experienced accountant, Khaled could not find employment in the financial sector, so he took a factory job to support his family and two young children.
Two years ago. Khaled saw that Southwest Solutions was offering a free bank teller training course. Khaled signed up for the 8-week program, which taught about the various responsibilities of a bank teller, customer service, job etiquette, interviewing and resume-making skills, and more. Khaled attended the class on weekday mornings, and then went to his factory job, where he worked the second shift.
“I took the class because I wanted to improve my communication and language skills, build my resume and network of contacts, and get the customer service certification to increase my chances of getting work in financial services,” Khaled said.
Despite his hectic schedule, Khaled diligently attended class. He also made sure to actively participate in discussions and to connect with banking partners who spoke to the students.
“Khaled worked very hard in the class, and even though he had so much experience and knowledge already about banking, he was willing to start as a bank teller so he could get his foot in the door and then work his way up,” said Rosetta Kincaid, Work Readiness Specialist at Southwest Solutions, who conducted the class.
After graduating from the class, Khaled attained employment as an accountant with Alderwish CPA in Dearborn.
“Things I learned in the bank teller course helped me get the job,” Khaled said.
Six months ago, Khaled was promoted to Senior Accountant at Alderwish. He and his family have settled in nicely to life in their adopted country. At the end of this month, they will have been here for five years, and Khaled will be eligible to apply for citizenship. He intends to do so, making America his new home for good.