Like many immigrants, Robe Kumsa came to the United States in pursuit of a great education and the opportunity to prove her capability in the U.S. job market. But when her rose-colored dreams were met with a less-than-ideal reality, she turned to Amplio and got the leg up she needed.
Born and raised on a farm in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Robe has never been a stranger to hard work. Her family grew everything from an assortment of grains to dark, chocolate-noted Ethiopian coffee.
She received a traditional education and went on to attend college, earning a diploma in secretary science and office management. Robe’s degree landed her a job in a government office, in the city, where she performed the important task of entering census information into databases. She met her husband, a senior plumbing technician, through their local church and the two married in 2011.
During this time, Robe’s desire to learn and grow continually fueled her desire to come to the United States. She applied repeatedly for the country’s visa “lottery”, only to be denied again and again.
Finally, on May 2, 2014, Robe got the good news she had waited to hear for nearly 15 years—she was accepted into the program.
Excited and nervous, the couple landed in Atlanta nearly a year later. They immediately took jobs at the local farmer’s market—her, a cashier; him, working maintenance. But Robe yearned for more.
“Back home I was in a professional role for 18 years,” she shares, “I was working with the government and banks, and in different administrative roles. I was using technology. Then I came here and could only find a job as a cashier… I had more capacity.”
Capacity. A struggle that many immigrants and refugees face when coming to America. Many have worked prestigious roles back home, as nurses, doctors and engineers, only to have their experience and expertise minimalized here in the U.S. They take humble jobs with menial pay that fall short of their capacity to contribute to society.
Fortunately for Robe, a good friend shared with her about a staffing company matching individuals like herself with jobs where they could utilize their skills, experience and work ethic—their full capacity. At Amplio Recruiting she met with recruiting coordinator, Bethelhem Bidiglen, also an Ethiopian native. Bethelhem listened attentively to Robe’s story, taking note of her skills and experience, and helped her fill out an application.
It wasn’t too long before a local electronic manufacturing company, Engent Inc., reached out to Amplio about a new, quality assurance position.
“They wanted someone with a fluency in technology, who was detail-oriented. We’d never placed anyone in that position before,” shares CEO, Chris Chancey.
Believing she would rise to the occasion, CEO Chris Chancey and Bethelhem called in Robe, who went to an interview with the company the next day. The response was less than what they hoped for.
“[They] emailed me immediately and said, ‘This isn’t going to work. She doesn’t have any experience,’” shares Chris, candidly.
But because of their trusted relationship with Amplio, they allowed Robe to begin training, giving her an opportunity to prove herself.
During that training, Chris heard back from Engent: the company was so impressed with how quickly she adapted to the training, picked up skills and asked intelligent questions that after only a week of training they felt she was ready to start on a shift all by herself.
Robe’s intelligence, work ethic and growth mindset proved her capability.
Now, working the third shift, Robe performs the critical task of checking electronic microchip processors being produced to make sure they are up to standard. The job is high stakes, requiring great attention to detail, but comes with the opportunity to advance within the company.
From a professional position in Addis Ababa to minimum wage cashier here in the U.S., she was left disillusioned by her dreams. Now, she is making $30K a year and starting a promising career in quality assurance. While her husband still works at the Farmers Market full time, after hours he is training with Tekton to earn his certificate and return to a career in plumbing.
“In the first months, I felt like we may have made a mistake in coming here,” Robe shares. “Now, I have a bright hope.”
Amplio is proud to take part in bringing hope to refugee families through connecting them with sustainable, fulfilling jobs that will turn into lifelong careers. We believe in the dependability and capacity of individuals like Robe, whose growth-mindsets set them apart from the crowd. What they do not know, they are motivated to learn– an invaluable asset in the workplace.