Orange County, CA
I immigrated to the United States in 2008 on Christmas Eve. In my home country, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law and had studied English, so communicating and understanding English was not so difficult for me. However, my law degree was not considered valid in the state of California. I was disappointed because I wanted to continue pursuing my career in the law field, but I would have to go back to school again. I registered into Kensington College and obtained a Paralegal Certificate in 2010.
Unfortunately, I did not have any luck finding a position with the certificate. I thought if I chose a more general route and change my career goals, I would get more opportunities since the paralegal field has not worked out for me. Just when I almost felt discouraged, the New Year brought me a surprise: I found NAPCA’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in Orange County at the end of January 2011.
I was assigned to the Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation, where I learned about community resources in Orange County and to share the information with the public. The job training has helped me to become eligible to apply to the City. In October 2012, I found a full-time position as a City Technician. I enjoyed the stability of a full-time job and benefits. However, in 2015, I was laid off. I struggled for several months, and one day I stopped by NAPCA-SCSEP’s office and found out that I have not reached my durational limit, so was still eligible for the program. I was re-enrolled into SCSEP during the Christmas month, with a different goal: an administrative assistant. I was assigned to AASCSC, an organization that helps Vietnamese American participants to adjust to the challenges from moving to the States through providing a variety of services and programs. I was joyful because my language skills and experiences became helpful to same language speakers. I felt so rewarded with this second chance at NAPCA-SCSEP to do meaningful work. I stayed until the end of the durational limit because I needed time to think about my career goals after leaving the program.
As I continued to do job searching, one of the NAPCA SCSEP staff suggested to apply to Amazon, since they had just opened a brand new facility in Northern Orange County. I took the advice and applied and got the job with benefits and a flexible work schedule. I was so thrilled – life is full of ups and downs, but if you keep working hard and help others, and allow others to help you, you can still make it!
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