Karimi left his native country of Morocco in search of a better life and inspired by the opportunities offered in America. Like many immigrants, Karimi found work in restaurants - often for long hours and low pay. His hard work and dedication paid off when his employer agreed to sponsor him through the US immigration process and he became a resident and eventually a U.S. citizen. He was able to open his own Moroccan restaurant, but after a few disappointing years was forced to close down.

Desiring new skills and greater financial stability, Karimi connected with Goodwill-Easter Seals in Minnesota. He enrolled in a three-month Construction training program to build basic skills and a Mechanics training program at the Dakota County Technical College.

After finishing his Mechanics training, Karimi earned his HVAC Certification and secured a full-time job as an Apartment Maintenance Technician. Karimi’s training was supported by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) program and gave him the required skills for his new job.    

Throughout the 18 months of training, Karimi was supported by his Goodwill Career Navigator, who helped him find a way to balance his education with work and family responsibilities, including raising two young children. The Career Navigator helped Karimi complete financial aid and enrollment documents, understand the community college process, secure financial assistance for required tools and transportation, and, most recently, transition into his new job.

Karimi’s wife read about the program in a community newsletter and suggested Karimi enroll after his restaurant closed.  Goodwill-Easter Seals is one of Minnesota’s first third-party SNAP E&T partners, providing education, job training, and placement services using a holistic approach that includes college and career navigation services.

What's next for Karimi and his family? “We now want to buy our own home. It’s time for someone else to be helped by public housing. I’ve only accepted help from the government when I really needed it and we are ready.”

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