Edmon Shahoud

PPL Alum Edmon

I’m from Syria. I have a BA in Business Administration, a Masters in Economic Planning, and a CPA certificate from my home country. For about 25 years, I worked there as a financial manager and a tax consultant in major commercial companies.

I’ve had dreams of living in America since childhood, and I pursued this goal until I was granted US residency in 2008. However, I soon discovered a huge barrier in my new country: landing a suitable job. This problem became serious, and I had to return to Syria for a while. When I came back to the US, I had work, but I didn’t feel like I had a future or a way to move forward.

This all changed when I joined RIFLI classes in 2014 to improve my English. I started at the beginner level and worked my way up to advanced classes, thanks to Jon, Doug, and Margaret – not just my teachers, but mentors and advisors as well. At the same time, I was preparing to interview for US citizenship, so I joined a citizenship class taught by Mary and David, who both helped me tremendously.

The next big leap in my life happened when I enrolled in Data Navigators and Tableau courses, where I gained new knowledge of the work requirements of US companies. Next I joined the Microsoft Office Specialist program, a partnership with Roger Williams University. The academic level of this course helped me break through a barrier that I had been nervous about. Chris played a prominent role in encouraging me to consider further advanced studies in the US. With his support, I submitted my Syrian credentials to the Center for Educational Documentation in Boston and received a degree equivalency. Now I hold the equivalent of a BA in Business Administration from the United States.

With help from RIFLI and the Institute for Labor Studies & Research (ILSR), my wife Eva and I were also able to take courses in Occupational Training Paths, OSHA, and Teacher Assistant training, which all led to certificates. Now I am taking a class on English for Business Owners with Anna, whose future-oriented lessons on US business concerns add to my prior knowledge and education.

PPL’s role has been not just to teach us English, but to give us a compass for life in America. The free courses Eva and I have taken have introduced us to many aspects of work and life in the US – culture, health care, the legal system. These programs will help me obtain temporary work until I’ve earned the qualifications to work in my field of expertise.

I can say with confidence that PPL has changed my life, and I give them tremendous credit for guiding and helping me. Their programs offer me, and many others, a path towards meaningful employment and prosperity.

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