Three years ago Hung Luc knew no English. He was a teenager in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and his knowledge of America was limited to media coverage that made its way across the Pacific Ocean. All of this changed in 2013 when his parents decided to move to the United States. “Being here is a new world – new rules, new laws. It’s like being born all over again,” Luc says. At an age when he was encouraged to start thinking about a career and the next steps in his education, Luc was struggling to keep up with basic communication and high school culture.
Referred to Goodwill of North Georgia’s Youth Employment Services (Y.E.S.) program, Luc began to strengthen his skills for a future career. He worked on soft skills, which are traits that helped him personally and professionally prepare for a career in America. “I learned how to dress [professionally], how to interview and how to interact with other employees,” he says. Slowly his English improved. Luc even landed an internship at Big Lots – his first real job and his first opportunity to work on customer service skills.
Now a senior in high school, Luc completed his internship at Big Lots and applied the lessons he learned to land a job as cashier at Panda Express. “You feel more confident when you get your second job,” he says. “When you get your first job you don’t really know what you’re doing but when you get your second job you’re definitely more confident.”
Luc knows his efforts will be rewarded down the road. He plans to attend Georgia Perimeter College and transfer to the University of Georgia to study business. Able to speak fluently in English and Vietnamese, he hopes his work experiences now will help prepare him for a future in international business.