Hiring fair held for Afghan and Ukrainian refugees in Renton

Washington continues to welcome Afghan and Ukrainian refugees to the state.

On Friday and Saturday, local businesses participated in a job fair to help a group of refugees transition to their new communities.

“I am very happy that I am here,” said Bashir Amani, an Afghan refugee.

He’s eager to make Western Washington home, saying, “I like the weather, the people.”

He’s only been in the state for three days but is already job searching alongside dozens of other refugees.

Organizers with Welcome.US and ReACT DC helped to coordinate the hiring fair in Renton. Organizers say company participants like Amazon, T-Mobile, and Starbucks recognize the need and wanted to help by setting up booths at the fair.

“We have a lot of Afghan and Ukrainian newcomers, coming to the area and they are in need of good jobs to help them be self-sufficient. So, this event is to help them get a jump start,” said Amy Marden, an organizer with ReACT DC.

In addition to job opportunities, organizers are also helping refugees with finding translators and resettlement assistance. Helping them, helps the community, said Marden.

“We know the communities embrace military families, and we’re asking communities to do the same to embrace refugee families and help them get on their feet,” said Marden. “It will make the community stronger. It will make the businesses stronger. It’s a benefit to everybody when everybody is successful.”

Amani was an English teacher in Afghanistan, and hopes to continue to work in education. He’s optimistic.

“I see a bright future for myself,” said Amani.

In addition to Renton, refugee hiring fairs have also been held in Northern Virginia and Atlanta. Organizers hope other cities will host similar events in the future.