It’s been almost a year, but the sights and sounds are never far from his thoughts: crowds of people surging toward departing planes, trampling those who stumble; gunshots ringing out; the explosion of a nearby bomb.
For Edris Akseer, now a bilingual recruiting coordinator at GE Appliances’ Louisville headquarters, these memories are daily reminders of the horrors that he, his wife and his brothers endured in Afghanistan to get to the United States—and how different his situation is today.
- “That day [I left] was the worst day of my life,” recalled Akseer, a former translator for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan who was able to secure passage out through his U.S. military connections. “[But] I’m happy here. I really enjoy helping others and I find my job really interesting. … I saved enough to buy a car and I’m working on getting my driver’s license.”
Helping refugees: Akseer is one of more than 100 non-U.S.-born employees brought on in recent months by GEA in Louisville. About 50 are refugees from Afghanistan and came here last fall when the U.S. military exited the country. The other half are Spanish-speaking and hail from multiple nations.
- “In early 2022, we had a new production line–and we needed to hire over 1,300 people,” recalls GE Appliances Senior Manager Beth Mickle, who runs the production recruitment group at the company’s large campus in Kentucky.
- “Catholic Charities and Kentucky Refugee Ministries said they [were helping] a group of people from Afghanistan and said, ‘We think you would be a great employer for them. Would you be interested in taking a shot at this?’”
- GEA was interested—and opening the hiring process to refugees and other immigrants has been one of the best workforce decisions the company has made in recent memory, Mickle said.
Read the full story here, and join the Manufacturing Institute for a conversation this Friday afternoon to learn why manufacturers should look to refugees as a new source of talent. More details here.