YongChao Li was born in Jiangsu, China. In 2000, he came to the US at the age of 53 because of his sons’ desire for a better future. For 12 years, he moved from Massachusetts, to Maryland, to Texas, and to North Dakota, before finally settling down in Seattle. It was a tough time for YongChao to learn a new language and cultural differences in a new country.
The most significant barrier YongChao experienced was employment. He had a college education and 25 years of public health management at a hygiene and epidemic prevention station in China, but he felt frustrated that he could not obtain a similar role here. YongChao tried to study English by himself at first, then decided to attend ESL classes to receive a professional assessment of his skills.
In 2017, YongChao heard about the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) at NAPCA from his ESL classmate. After SCSEP interviews and paperwork, he was assigned as an office assistant at the Seattle office of NAPCA. He learned about office systems and procedures, which included operating office machines, maintaining and updating databases, and answering telephone calls. In these two years of practice, YongChao got a very different perspective on the office system in the United States. Also, he was encouraged to learn different skills, so he got his Early Childhood Education Certification in December 2017 and ESL certification in March 2018. Now YongChao is taking customer service classes and computer classes at local organizations.
Many challenges come with being an immigrant, but YongChao always managed to have a positive mindset, and is now making detailed plans for his future through NAPCA’s SCSEP.
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