Molly Guthrey, Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
Agency: International Institute of Minnesota, a nonprofit that has almost 100 years of experience with helping immigrants and refugees resettle in our community. Services provide the basic necessities for helping people start over, including language learning, job training and citizenship classes.
John’s story, according to the agency: “One of our Medical Careers Pathway students, ‘John’ was born and raised in Ethiopia by Somali parents. He is trilingual, speaking Somali, Amharic and English. John received three years of nursing training in Ethiopia and worked as a student nurse in all capacities, even assisting with delivering babies. He came to the United States in 2014 and after studying English for more than one year, he enrolled in our nursing assistant training program last year. At the time of his enrollment and throughout his training, John worked as a personal care attendant. His annual income was $14,300. John completed his nursing assistant training with a 93 percent unit test average and was certified as a nursing assistant.
“John received evaluations from his program instructors. They mentioned his friendliness, his good communication skills and his ability to provide quality care to residents during his clinical training.
“Several months after certification, John was hired by a Twin Cities nursing home. His initial wage was $12.62 per hour and he was working 38 hours per week. Because of his performance and his nursing experience, his wage was increased to $14.18 per hour. His current annual income is now $28,020, nearly double what John was earning at the time of his enrollment into the nursing assistant training program.
“Every time we see John, he has a smile on his face. He loves his job and thinks he is so lucky to have found the programs at the International Institute. He always says thank you and tells us how happy he is. When John is ready, our Medical Careers Pathway team will link him to a tutor to help him with his further studies and licensure. We are fully confident that John is a student who will continue to work, continue to study and hopefully will be able to achieve his goal of being an advanced health care professional in the United States, his new home.”
Editor’s note: For almost 20 years now, the Pioneer Press has teamed with Greater Twin Cities United Way — and our readers — to raise money for local families in need during the holidays. That program, called Holiday Wishes, raised more than $1 million over the past two decades.
This holiday season, instead of raising money for specific families, we are sharing stories of families helped throughout the year by United Way and its local partner agencies. We know that Pioneer Press readers have the biggest hearts around, and we hope that these stories — which illustrate how United Way has helped local families in need — will inspire readers to keep that holiday spirit going all year long. Thank you for helping the Pioneer Press and United Way help others.
How to help: To donate to programs that support individuals or families such as these, go to gtcuw.org/donate. Or, mail your donation to Greater Twin Cities United Way, 404 Eighth St. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404. Checks should be made payable to Greater Twin Cities United Way. If you have questions, please call United Way at 612-340-7400.