The refugee workforce: Get to know the dedicated workers

Photo of a smiling Black woman

4 mins, 47 secs read time

Amplio Recruiting was born of a very simple goal: help talented people find good jobs. I felt called to work for – and with – my friends and neighbors who were searching for opportunities. Now my team is proud to play a key role in multiple major U.S. cities, placing awesome refugee workers at wonderful companies.

It’s making a difference. And it isn’t just the employees who are reaping mega-rewards: many of our refugee workers have introduced their employers to some of the best talent they’ve ever had. The new life they bring to the job has even brought some of these companies back from the brink of collapse.

These are some of my favorite success stories – highlighting some of the most amazing and valuable energy our refugee friends bring to the table.

“Here, we wake up every day like it’s our first day.”

Zinah Ghazi is an Iraqi refugee. The bombs in Baghdad, the death of her older brother and the forced departure of her parents — all at the hands of sectarian violence — were the harsh realities of Zinah’s world by the time she was in her early 20s. She took care of her family behind padlocked doors while skirting death threats, earning her bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and working her way up to a management job.

Zinah was in the process of seeking her MA in genetic engineering and working for the International Relief and Development department to promote broad-scale human progress in Iraq when she got the call.

She and her siblings had been approved to enter the United States.

Zinah left it all behind in search of safety – and peace. Since then, she’s held a job at the Emory University School of Medicine, gone back to earn her database specialist degree with a 3.9 GPA, worked as an interpreter and after-school instructor, and been a full-time mom. Now, we’re beyond lucky to employ Zinah’s thirst for success right at Amplio Atlanta.

When we asked what her she liked best about working for Amplio, Zinah told us,

“I feel, here, like I found my home. My family. Every time I come here, I smile from my heart. Here I am really, really happy. I’m using my computer skills and improving the database. I learn something new every day.”

Like so many of our refugee friends, Zinah’s passion and drive to succeed are incredible. Her coworkers call her “The Ninja” because it seems like she can do anything. They also call her “martaba aula” – Arabic for “number one.”

“Hard work translates in any language.”

Cody Lagana is a team lead at Storr Office Environments in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company was founded in 1914, and has a proud legacy of quality work. But they had been struggling with staffing problems for a long time – and they were tired.

On any given workday, their crew requires anywhere from 40 to 80 contractors to provide their “one-stop shop” service so prized by customers. And excellence is of the utmost importance.

Enter not one, not two, but nine talented refugee workers. Half are being trained in general labor, and half are learning about office installation. The best part? They’re all learning English, thanks to the Storr management bringing in a training course to help everyone understand each other better.

Cody told us, “I’ve been having a ball working with them. They’re not only the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life – they’re so willing to help, and so willing to learn…They not only show up on time, they’re there early. Their willingness to help is what really shines over every other staffing company. They’re willing to stay late, while keeping a big smile.”

Dependability is a huge part of great work – after all, if you’ve set a time for your team to be ready, you want them there. Refugee workers have been denied the dignity of work – and have often left wonderful careers behind in their home countries. Like Zinah, they want it back. They take their work seriously. They show up.

They’ve made a huge difference at Storr – in fact, the company is giving each and every one of their refugee employees the opportunity to join the company full time after logging 500 hours of on-the-job training. And they’re learning fast, working hard and making great strides. Everyone wins – especially team leads like Cody.

“If there’s something I can give them, I give it to them.”

Kisembo was only three years old when he left his native Congo. He arrived in the U.S. at the age of 18 without any knowledge of English. He now does specialized installs at Accessories Unlimited in Atlanta, and he’s one of their hardest workers.

Kutaiba and Omar joined the family at Urban Mattress just five months after the doors opened. They’ve stayed ever since, and the team has embraced every step of their journey – through citizenship, home ownership and so much more.

These awesome, talented workers give their best – they commit to their teams deeply, and appreciate every opportunity. They show up relentlessly. They take work to heart; it’s truly important to them. I’ve learned so much from them, and I’ve seen them help so many companies tackle problems and overcome challenges.

You can check out my previous post with the Greenhouse Team to learn more about the refugee workforce, or head over to the Amplio blog for more of my favorite success stories.

Want to learn more about how Amplio Recruiting can introduce you to amazing refugee talent? Click here to see our video about hiring talent.