Starting a New Life in America
Port Huron Career Center
Submitted by Ann Austin
Quiet and unassuming, Oleh and his wife arrived in the United States last August to flee their war-torn city in Ukraine. They moved in with their daughter and her family in Marine City. All that he and his wife had worked for their entire lives was now gone and all Oleh wanted to do was to work.
As a participant in the Partnership, Accountability, Training and Hope (PATH) program and speaking very little English, Oleh was assigned to English classes. The Michigan Works! Business Account Manager, Ann, learned that Oleh had worked as a welder in Ukraine. Ann happened to be aware of a local company in need of a welder and made the connection. Oleh passed their MIG welding skills test but needed on-the-job training (OJT) for the TIG welding. There also remained a barrier to hiring Oleh right away, as he was not yet eligible for employment in the United States. With some investigative work, the business account manager learned how to expedite a work authorization and he started work in December 2022. Oleh was welcomed by welding department staff who all had downloaded a translation program to their phones to help with communication.
PATH additionally supported Oleh’s employment with 480 hours of OJT, provided work tools, boots, and a welding shield and jacket. And with a newly obtained Michigan driver’s license, Oleh received PATH assistance for an auto purchase for transportation to work.
Asked how Oleh is doing, John Tucker, HR Director with PTM Corporation, had this to say: “He is doing great! I feel that he is a great fit for our culture. PTM associates are extremely friendly and inclusive, ready to help and adopt every person into the PTM family, regardless of their background. It’s in our DNA; it is who we are. We love being part of these stories.” Oleh shared via his daughter that he “likes his work a lot” and “that all of the staff is very friendly.”