During the holiday season, we’re taking a look at the impact of some of AAFE’s programs in the community by introducing you to people who have come to our neighborhood offices for help. Today, we would like you to meet Winnie Guo, who not only was a client of our Workforce Development Center in Flushing, Queens, but she’s now an AAFE employee! It’s a story that’s actually pretty common. Many staff members have been inspired to join the AAFE team after seeking assistance from our housing, immigration or job counselors.

Winnie came to this country from China 2011, finishing up her education in Iowa before moving to New York in 2016. Even with an MBA, Winnie had not found the right job for her, so she visited our employment center about a year-and-a-half ago. After learning about a job opening at AAFE and being told about the mission of the Workforce Center, Winnie said she thought, “This would be a really meaningful job for me, so this is where I came to work.”

AAFE’s Workforce Development Center offers one-on-one counseling, resume preparation, interview skills training and job referral services. The program, funded by the Robin Hood Foundation, placed 150 people in jobs in the past year. 90% of the individuals seeking our help take advantage of AAFE’s English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.

Asked to describe her clients, Winnie said, “They are immigrants. A lot of them don’t speak English at all.” Many times, she explained, they left professional careers in other countries and are at a loss for what to do in New York. “I tell them this is a new environment,” Winnie added. “As a new immigrant, you have to learn English first. Sometimes we also refer them to some training programs, or an English class here at AAFE.” 

In the past year, a big priority has been recruiting more Flushing businesses to join the program. Winnie and other members of the Workforce Development team recruited 52 new firms, bringing the total to 124.

As an immigrant herself and a Flushing resident, Winnie understands the situation her clients are in, and she’s empathetic. “The work we’re doing in the community and the help we’re providing local residents,” said Winnie, “is very important. It’s essential to our community development mission.” 

You can learn more about the center, or any of our services in Flushing, by calling 917-285-2732 or by sending an email to: askaafe@www.aafe.org. If you would like to help our Workforce Development Center make an even bigger difference in 2019, we hope you will consider making a tax deductible donation to AAFE. You can contribute online by filling out the form below.