Stephen’s Story: New Country, New Beginnings

by | Dec 16, 2019 | Stories, Success Stories, Training

No matter the circumstance, Stephen A. moves forward.

The first thing one will notice about Stephen is how much he values education. He speaks in phrases like, “Nobody is an island. Nobody has a monopoly on knowledge,” and made it clear that when it comes to his experience at SERJobs, “a quest for advancement and knowledge” is what led him to our CORE Construction program.

Immigrating from Nigeria three years ago, there were many adjustments he had to make. To get a job in the industry he was already skilled in, Stephen needed our help. He came to SER because he needed construction credentials that were valid in America. While he has a prior background in the construction industry, he did go through a learning curve with SER’s program. “I was trained in Nigeria with British Standard, but we don’t use metrics in America. So, you must make a speedy conversion using Fahrenheit against Celsius [for example], but that put me on a platform of opportunity because I can use both now.”

While his main goal was to earn US-relevant construction credentials, Stephen also gained valuable insight into what is normal for an interview in the United States and some best practices that made him stand out as a candidate.

“I must not forget to say that my resume was reorganized here because there is a course in SERJobs on resume build-up and interview readiness. That was wonderful because it helped to put me at a platform of advantage at the interview for the job I have now.”

Our employment services team works individually with our clients to ensure they are fully prepared to search for jobs and make a great impression when hired. Through this process, Stephen found out that “If you can research before coming into the organization, you will show that you are an asset to the organization and that’s the secret I got here, and it worked for me.”

He is currently a service manager with an apartment complex in the Houston area. His job ensures that he oversees many aspects of the facility, “from the landscaping to the architectural look, structural element and the building services of the property.” When asked how he likes his new position, he said, “I love doing what I’m doing. I love the construction industry.”

“There’s no losing. You win, SER wins, society wins.”

Stephen uses his current position and skills to pave a pathway forward, “I want to be a business owner. That is my goal. Whatever I am doing now, I am doing it to build myself to that goal.”

If you are hesitant about SER’s services and how we can help you, Stephen offers this advice, “You need to help yourself for someone to help you. If you need help, you need to make yourself open to help. There’s an African adage that says if a child comes to you– if he does not lift his arms, it is difficult for you to pick him up.”

Working together with our clients, alongside their strengths, is how we lift each other and the greater Houston area. He also reflects on SER’s impact not just on his life but the lives of those around him. “It’s a win, win situation. There’s no losing. You win, SER wins, society wins.”

When asked if there’s anything that he wanted to make sure people knew about him when telling his story, he left us with this final statement: “I am an immigrant who came into this country, but I’ve never allowed my status to define who I am. I see myself as an American, and I move forward.”