How one Ukranian refugee reclaimed his career in Idaho

Every year, hundreds of new Americans leave everything behind, arriving in Idaho with advanced degrees, English language skills, and successful but interrupted careers — as engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, and scientists.

Sergii Tytar, an Electromechanical Engineer, worked in the aviation and automotive industry in Ukraine for over 20 years. As a lead engineer, he helped reconstruct the engine control system of the world’s largest aircraft.

In 2016, political and religious unrest caused Sergii to leave his job and move with his family to Boise, Idaho. Soon after arriving, Sergii joined Global Talent Idaho (GTI) and took advantage of everything the program offered.

He worked with his advisor to develop a professional resume, write cover letters, and navigate engineering re-licensing requirements. He also practiced interviewing with local professionals at a GTI Career Summit, including BSU Electrical Engineering Professor Dr. Elisa Barney Smith.

Although Sergii had years of high-level experience in Ukraine, when he started working with GTI he realized that he knew nothing about job searching in the U.S.

“GTI revolutionized my mind. Interviewing, cover letters, good US resume — everything was new. I filled my mind like a baby! GTI led me step by step to my goal.”

Global Talent Idaho worked together with Stacey Shegrud at the Department of Labor to set up an electrical programming internship for Sergii at Versabuilt. He had two interviews before he was offered the internship position, and credits the GTI training, practice, and preparation as key to his success.

Although Sergii had no experience programming at a professional level, nor had he worked in English-speaking environments, he was confident in his electrical knowledge and ability to learn, and was up for the challenge. He studied programming in his free time and now has a certificate in Robotics.

Very quickly, Sergii assumed new responsibilities with Versabuilt. His willingness to take on challenges and learn new things paid off and at the end of the internship Versabuilt offered him a full-time position as a Robotics Technician.

Asked if the job is a good fit for him, Sergii replies, “I am doing what I like to do. I can grow and work in new areas like programming, software, and robotics.”

Sergii continues to utilize classes offered by GTI to become more fluent in English. He recently attended a writing class where he worked with a personal English coach, GTI Volunteer Dunja Subasic, each Monday.

What does Sergiy appreciate most about his new life in the United States? “Safety, calm, and the ability to plan for the future and for financial investments like mortgages.”

Sergii is very thankful for the assistance he received, and continues to receive, from Global Talent Idaho. “They do a great job. They are amazing!” he says.

- story by Lori Ode

A version of this story was previously published on Global Talent Idaho's website.

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Global Talent Idaho (GTI), a program of Jannus, Inc., was started in 2014 to address the individual and systemic barriers to employment that well-educated and highly skilled immigrants and refugees face. GTI enables skilled refugees and immigrants — doctors, engineers, accountants, and others — to rebuild professional careers in Idaho.

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