When we first profiled Ahmed Abdo in January 2017, he was preparing for a plant-wide layoff at work and studying to become a U.S. citizen. Since then, he’s made significant progress toward his goals as he continues to study with both the tutoring and workplace English programs at the Literacy Center. I sat down with him again this month to talk about his journey and his next steps.
As he had anticipated, Ahmed did eventually get laid off from his job, but he was able to use his English skills to find a position with a different company. His new coworkers trained him to read blueprints, and now he uses that skill to build machines. He says that he continues to learn and get better at his job.
Ahmed also passed the citizenship test and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in August of this year. He says, “I’m happy to be American. It’s a great nation. I feel safe. I have the right to vote.”
Now that he can travel more freely as a citizen, he is planning his first trip to his home country in 9 years. He has missed his family and is looking forward to seeing them next year. In the meantime, he is working hard in order to save money for the trip.
Never one to rest, Ahmed has already laid out his goals for after he returns from his visit. First, he wants to get his GED. He had started studying for it before but had to stop when he changed jobs. Once he completes the GED, he plans to take classes in heating/cooling.
In addition to helping him gain his citizenship, studying English has helped Ahmed improve his life in other ways. He says that it has helped him with his work, and that he can understand when people speak. He says, “I have some difficulties, but it’s no big deal.”