Thair Gorgees and Evan Alias, Career Builder, English as a Second Language, Student Financial Services

Thair Gorgees and his wife, Evan Alias, moved to the United States from Iraq in April 2010 and enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) at the IEL to improve their language skills. ESL staff Marianne Steen and Stoja Saric were helpful and encouraged them and in a few months they passed the SLEP test for English.
 
Wanting to continue their education, they went to
Student Financial Services at the Magnuson Building in Spokane to apply for financial aid. Ann Hightower and Maria Morgan answered all their questions and helped them fill out the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). During the 12-month period they were required to wait to become permanent Washington state residents and be eligible for additional financial aid grants, they enrolled in the Workforce Investment Act funded-program and signed up for Career Builder at the IEL (now Career Transitions) to improve their skills in Microsoft Office and increase their typing speed. 

Later, they both successfully passed the placement test at
Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC) and received financial aid to continue their education. Thair is now enrolled in the web design program and Evan in the administrative computer specialist program at SFCC. Both achieved outstanding GPAs their first quarter and expect the same high marks at the end of their second quarter.
 
Thair says, “We got great help, support and encouragement from our ESL instructors, WorkSource caseworker, and the student Financial Services staff at the IEL and we are grateful to all of them.”  Evan adds, “The whole environment of the ESL, Career Builder and Spokane Falls Community College classes is perfect to help students succeed. We liked these programs of study; they are flexible and fit our needs.”
 
They also liked the way Student Financial Services staff managed and helped students and wanted to work in the office and learn from them. Through an on-the-job-training program and work-study, they have been able to help other students with their FAFSAs and improve their office assistant skills at the same time.