From West Africa to the Midwest: How Upwardly Global Helped an IT Professional Find His American Dream

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Ade, a Beninese immigrant, joined the Upwardly Global family and achieved his professional dreams

In 2015, Ade won the lottery. Not the gambling kind — the visa kind. Three years into his professional IT career in Benin, a French-speaking country in West Africa, he moved to the U.S. on a diversity visa, which granted him free permanent residency in the U.S. on a lottery system.

As a child, 32-year-old Ade’s late father worked as a pilot in Nigeria, inspiring him to dream beyond West African borders. Fuzzy memories of time spent in Nigeria bring tears to his eyes — and push him to his fullest potential.

In Benin, he earned a bachelor’s in computer science and built an IT consulting company from the ground up. Meanwhile, he searched for opportunities to immigrate elsewhere, maybe France. Little did he know that the U.S. would send a personal invite.

By July of 2016, Ade lived with a cousin in Chicago while finding his footing within the U.S. labor market.

“One week after I arrived, I was downtown in the Upwardly Global office,” says Ade, laughing. He’d started collecting jobs in retail, warehouse, and big box stores, juggling two to three jobs at a time. All while working with Upwardly Global to find a professional job in IT.

“My job coach was amazing — she empowered me to believe that everything I know is valuable,” says Adedjobi. “I started getting calls from recruiters [and] getting interviews for companies.”

Ade didn’t initially apply for the Systems Administrator position at Upwardly Global; his job coach did it for him. With her support, he ultimately landed the job.

“I thought, ‘Yeah, why not?’ I love the mission, [and] I was ready to give back if I could, to use my expertise to help other people,” Ade says. “I’m filled with gratitude. Thanks to Upwardly Global, I’ve gotten back my confidence in my skills, and now we’re doing that for thousands of people.”

Now, seven years later, Ade has settled into American life with Upwardly Global at the top of his resume. Just last year, he became a U.S. citizen, a reality he had once never thought possible.

“We deserve to be here as human beings, and we need to be confident in that fact no matter where we come from, what we’ve learned, and why we are here,” says Ade. “We just have to believe that our contribution is valuable and needed in this country and the world.”

Want to find meaningful work with Upwardly Global and help immigrants and refugees restart their careers in the U.S.? Find all of our current job openings here.

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