“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”
For UPSer Thalia Almenares Lozada, these six words have served as a beacon on her journey to a better future — a future that began when she, her mother and younger brother emigrated from Cuba to the U.S. in 2016.
Thalia said her first priority was finding a job.
“It was intimidating to be in a new country, not speaking the language and looking for a job,” she said. “I was having a difficult time finding a company that would hire me due to the language barrier.”
That language barrier, along with other cultural hurdles, is a major challenge for immigrants seeking employment. According to the non-profit Upwardly Global, 45% of recently arrived immigrants have at least a bachelor’s degree; however, two million college-educated immigrants and refugees are unemployed or underemployed.
It was through Catholic Charities in Louisville, Kentucky, that Thalia was introduced to UPS’s International Communities Job Program (ICJP). The program assists refugees and immigrants not fluent in English with finding employment at the company’s Worldport facility.
“UPS was a good fit for me because they helped me with the language barrier, and I was able to have a job to help take care of my family and my college would be paid for. Without it [ICJP], I couldn’t have achieved all that I have,” Thalia said.
Thalia says one of the main reasons she started at UPS was for the education benefits and possibility of graduating from college debt-free. Through the Metro College program, she has secured more than $8,000 toward her education.
When Thalia was promoted to operations supervisor, she was able to use her Spanish fluency to train and mentor other Latin American employees in her department. She now works nights with the transportation department so she can take part in the dental hygienist program at the University of Louisville.
“Working at UPS has been a wonderful journey,” Thalia said. “When I first started, I thought it was impossible to go to school and work, but I’m only two years away from graduating debt-free with UPS’s help. I’ve learned that if you keep working on your dreams every sacrifice is going to be worth it.”