Refugees, immigrants reach for the sky
Natoli Bulga had big dreams and even bigger ambitions. He is grateful for the opportunity to live and work in Minnesota and provide a future for his children in safety. It has been a long road to get here because Bulga’s family once lived under the threat of danger for their lives. They had to flee their home in Ethiopia because they were being persecuted. They became refugees and were accepted to come to the U.S. When he arrived, he visited Rise Pathways, a career planning and job placement facility, in South Minneapolis. There, he met Mohamed Daher, an employment counselor, who was committed to put his skills and ambition to work.
In the past year, Daher has helped Bulga and more than 30 other refugees and immigrants find jobs. Many of them are employed at LSG Sky Chefs, the world’s largest airline catering company, located at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Employees work in a variety of positions, including sanitizing, assembling, packaging food trays and loading food carts onto planes. Bulga loads the assembled food carts from the warehouse to the planes. He says, “It’s a good job. I have many friends working there and I hope to work there for a long time.”
LSG Sky Chefs not only offers employment but also offers an Academy of Learning, which allows employees the ability to enhance their language skills, learn computer programs and basic math, and work on getting their driver’s license. Bulga takes English as a Second Language classes weekly to improve his language skills.
“The managers at LSG Sky Chefs are terrific. They are welcoming, culturally sensitive and encouraging to newcomers. They are committed to making sure people are successful on the job,” said Daher.
In 2016, Minnesota welcomed 3,059 primary arrivals from 28 countries. We need the skills and energy of every Minnesotan so our state can thrive. “Our Resettlement Programs Office works with many others to make sure that refugees can achieve their highest potential, and strengthen and enrich our state,” said Human Services Assistant Commissioner Jim Koppel. “Because we need the skills and energy of every Minnesotan so our state can thrive.”
More information about LSG Sky Chefs, Rise Pathways, and the department's services for refugees are available on their respective websites.