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Military veterans from major US companies to mentor Afghans

Afghans who are struggling to find work that matches the career they had before fleeing their country can now sign up to be mentored by US military veterans working in their field.

The new program, created by Tent Partnership for Refugees, already has 16 participating companies across the United States, including software developer Intuit in San Diego. Google, American Airlines, Pfizer, Hello Fresh and Chobani are also participating, among other well-known brands.

Each company has pledged to provide veteran military employees to mentor at least 50 Afghans. Tent is always looking for more companies to participate, with the goal of mentoring at least 1,500 people over the next three years.

“If an environment is created, if a chance is given, if connections are made, there are amazing success stories,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Tent Founder and Chobani CEO.

He noted that US military troops and the Afghans who helped them in Afghanistan have established close ties over the past two decades. He hopes the new program will use these bonds to help Afghans achieve their career and life goals in their new home.

Intuit’s San Diego office in Torrey Highlands serves as the company’s headquarters for its TurboTax software.

Yaron Schwartz, Tent’s US director, said many highly skilled Afghans have struggled to find work in their fields – a common problem for newcomers to the US.

“Many times they have taken entry-level jobs soon after arriving in the United States to support themselves and their families and are looking to advance in their careers and find roles better suited to their backgrounds. professional,” Schwartz said. “Mentoring is a powerful complement in the hiring space.”

Founded in 2016, Tent guides companies in hiring refugees and offers resources such as cultural competency training for companies that want to help their refugee workers integrate smoothly. In the past, he has created a similar program for LGBTQ-identifying employees at large corporations to mentor LGBTQ-identifying refugees.

Mustafa Babak, executive director of the Afghan-American Foundation, called the mentorship program unprecedented.

“Afghans have been in the United States since the 1960s,” Babak said, “but this is the first time such an impactful program has been launched to help build skills and give Afghan refugees the tools to survive. ‘integrate into the United States’.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough has called the Afghans who were evacuated when the US military withdrew from their country a massive human resource for the United States.

“This is not an act of generosity or humanitarian awareness,” McDonough said. “It’s an act of self-interest.”

He thanked veterans for leading many efforts to evacuate Afghans and helping them resettle in the United States. He said that by mentoring Afghans under the new tent program, veterans would once again show the United States the way forward.

Veterans interested in mentoring can do so through employers who have signed up for the program. Afghans interested in being mentored can register via an online form or email for more information.

California Daily Newspapers

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