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I'd really like to help someone out who is in their late 50's/early 60's find some decent work if at all possible. This person immigrated here about 10 years ago and has conversational English that is good enough to get by but nothing more. Written English isn't any better. He had an accounting degree from his home country but accounting rules are different here so this degree seems pretty much worthless, especially due to his poor English. It's not as easy for someone to learn a completely new language in their mid 40's and be proficient at it so I definitely don't place too much fault on him for not improving his English. I really don't think he has much capital to be able to start his own business. 

He is a very likable person with great math skills, but poor spoken and written English is definitely hindering his job prospects. I can't imagine him doing well at all in many job interviews. He currently drives for Uber - is this as good as it gets for him? 

 

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I agree with others regarding bookkeeping or math tutor. Have him contact Sylvan, Mathnasium or comparable places. He co... (more)

turtlebug (Dec. 01, 2016 @ 10:00a) |

Write content for websites in his native language.

blok (Dec. 02, 2016 @ 8:00a) |

What language does he speak? In NYC there are hotel and restaurant  back of the house positions, where majority speaks o... (more)

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Bookkeeping? Is he computer savvy enough for that? Accounting light-ish. Does anywhere still hire bookkeepers?

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limerickey said:   Bookkeeping? Is he computer savvy enough for that? Accounting light-ish. Does anywhere still hire bookkeepers?
  I could see him getting a job in accounts payable/receivable even with limited English.

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WalMart. My WalMart has no problem hiring people with limited English skills.

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your friend was smart enough to get a college degree. and he's dealt with english speakers/english culture for at least a decade. for those reasons, his english skills should far exceed "basic understanding."

that's what hindering his job prospects. employers see him as "capable but lazy." (he should've already put himself through multiple ESL courses over the last 10 years).

another lame excuse: he can't do US accounting because accounting is different where he learned it.

what's funny is that a friend got a BA in accounting from a US university. throughout his program, professors told him he was learning theory, and that his first employer would train him to do "real world" accounting. they also told him it would clash with what he was learning in school, and that he would need to adjust to his employer's methods. his accounting degree merely showed prospective employers that he was smart enough to learn/apply accounting concepts. The thinking was that, if he possessed a high enough IQ to learn accounting-system X, he most likely possessed a high enough IQ to learn accounting-system Y.

if your friend's math skills are great, what's stopped him from pursing a grad degree in something quantitative (like applied math/stat)? those programs deal with ESL types all the time, giving far more weight to GRE math than GRE verbal. more laziness?

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A cashier at a grocery store?

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what was he doing before?

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In NJ, they still hire people to pump gas.

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Although accounting principles may differ (USGAAP vs. IFRS), double-entry bookkeeping is a universal language, dating back hundreds of years.  

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Try employers who have business with folks of the same ethnicity/nationality/language as this person. Will gel very well with the clients; his foreign language skills may actually be an asset.

Can he tutor math?

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mupafe said:   your friend was smart enough to get a college degree. and he's dealt with english speakers/english culture for at least a decade. for those reasons, his english skills should far exceed "basic understanding."

that's what hindering his job prospects. employers see him as "capable but lazy." (he should've already put himself through multiple ESL courses over the last 10 years).

another lame excuse: he can't do US accounting because accounting is different where he learned it.

what's funny is that a friend got a BA in accounting from a US university. throughout his program, professors told him he was learning theory, and that his first employer would train him to do "real world" accounting. they also told him it would clash with what he was learning in school, and that he would need to adjust to his employer's methods. his accounting degree merely showed prospective employers that he was smart enough to learn/apply accounting concepts. The thinking was that, if he possessed a high enough IQ to learn accounting-system X, he most likely possessed a high enough IQ to learn accounting-system Y.

if your friend's math skills are great, what's stopped him from pursing a grad degree in something quantitative (like applied math/stat)? those programs deal with ESL types all the time, giving far more weight to GRE math than GRE verbal. more laziness?

 It's not always that easy/simple. It's the equivalent of you having a US degree and then going to foreign country and trying to be fluent in Mandarin or Russian or Arabic, etc.

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Unless he can find a way to use his skills working with people from the same ethnic background as he (ie: doing taxes for spanish people people, for example), he will likely be forced to work as a general laborer for the rest of his time in the US. They key will then be to work as much as he can and save as much as he can.

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JaayOkay said:   I'd really like to help someone out who is in their late 50's/early 60's find some decent work if at all possible. This person immigrated here about 10 years ago and has conversational English that is good enough to get by but nothing more. Written English isn't any better. He had an accounting degree from his home country but accounting rules are different here so this degree seems pretty much worthless, especially due to his poor English. It's not as easy for someone to learn a completely new language in their mid 40's and be proficient at it so I definitely don't place too much fault on him for not improving his English. I really don't think he has much capital to be able to start his own business. 

He is a very likable person with great math skills, but poor spoken and written English is definitely hindering his job prospects. I can't imagine him doing well at all in many job interviews. He currently drives for Uber - is this as good as it gets for him? 

 

  What the heck has he been doing for the last 30 or 40 yrs for work??
 
 

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How about an anchor at Fox News.

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If he lives in a large Metro area, dog watching or dog walking pays remarkably well. I wouldn't think you would need to make tons of conversation. All he needs is business cards, a CC reader, laptop for billing, and insurance.

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First Lady of USA?

( I just read the title)

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Not a joke, but, consider Disneyland if you are in the area.  Poor English means he's fluent in another language, which is a skill set.  

Disneyland has an eclectic range of needs and even a ticketing person/greeter can bring in $25K-$30K.

Source: I know a guy who is older (75) who works at Disneyland and started when he was 60 and started as a ticketing person.  Minimal/basic English level.

 

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anthonyu said:   
mupafe said:   your friend was smart enough to get a college degree. and he's dealt with english speakers/english culture for at least a decade. for those reasons, his english skills should far exceed "basic understanding."

that's what hindering his job prospects. employers see him as "capable but lazy." (he should've already put himself through multiple ESL courses over the last 10 years).

another lame excuse: he can't do US accounting because accounting is different where he learned it.

what's funny is that a friend got a BA in accounting from a US university. throughout his program, professors told him he was learning theory, and that his first employer would train him to do "real world" accounting. they also told him it would clash with what he was learning in school, and that he would need to adjust to his employer's methods. his accounting degree merely showed prospective employers that he was smart enough to learn/apply accounting concepts. The thinking was that, if he possessed a high enough IQ to learn accounting-system X, he most likely possessed a high enough IQ to learn accounting-system Y.

if your friend's math skills are great, what's stopped him from pursing a grad degree in something quantitative (like applied math/stat)? those programs deal with ESL types all the time, giving far more weight to GRE math than GRE verbal. more laziness?

 It's not always that easy/simple. It's the equivalent of you having a US degree and then going to foreign country and trying to be fluent in Mandarin or Russian or Arabic, etc.

 LOL! It wouldn't be anything like that.  Did you even read the OP?  His friend didn't arrive in the US yesterday or last week.  He's been here for at least TEN years!  Yet his grasp of English is conversational, a level expected of a foreign tourist.



 

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Call Center

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why did they come to USA if they didn't have any skills or desire to learn english?

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If he is in a large metro area - many opportunities mentioned already may work.

If not - try talking to the nearby community college. Some of the good ones have surprisingly effective vocational training/placement programs. How about things like Health Aide, Nurse's Assistant etc?

These programs are usually subsidized a lot for people with limited means.

He will need to pass TOEFL etc. But that is usually not a huge deal for someone motivated.

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I second the idea of working with folks of his own ethnic group. I am bilingual, and my side job is business consulting. It's pretty easy and lucrative work. But he really should improve his English, it's never too late; there's no excuse for someone who is college-educated and who has been here 10 years not to have better English skills.

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First Lady?

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churningisdead said:   why did they come to USA if they didn't have any skills or desire to learn english?

In English, that would be written as, "Why did he come to the USA if he didn't have any skills or desire to learn English?"

But you did well enough to make your intended question clear. So I would speculate OP's friend had reasons like many other immigrants:

  • To be with family
  • To escape persecution for political or religious beliefs
  • To escape rampant violence or war
  • To enjoy improved economic opportunity despite his limits

I'm sure there are many other popular reasons people migrate to other countries despite barriers with language and work opportunities.

But I think you're also making assumptions about OP's friend having no desire to learn English. We don't know where those skills were before the move, or how he's worked to build or improve them. It may be that this person fully intended to become fluent, and has just found it too difficult for him. Learning any new language as an adult can be challenging, and some people may be particularly weak at it. Friends and family who know several languages consistently tell me that English really is one of the more difficult ones, too. Some of our native speakers can even have difficulty with the basics.

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limerickey said:   Bookkeeping? Is he computer savvy enough for that? Accounting light-ish. Does anywhere still hire bookkeepers?
  
I second this.  If he has a degree in Accounting, he's already got the skill set to become a bookeeper.  For a few hundred and a test he could get officially certified by the AIPB or NACPB.  The specific rules vary by country, but it'd be a lot easier for him to apply his previous experience in accounting to the US than to enter a completely new profession.

Alternately (or in addition to the above) he should apply for an Accounting Clerk position in Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable.  These jobs tend to require an associates degree at most, so having a better degree could help offset his communication skills.  If he can, he should apply to a company that does a lot of work with his home country, or where other employees come from a similar background and are bilangual.  Does he have a social network of people from his native country?  Do any of them know of openings?  

He should definitely consider cold-calling any companies he thinks would be a good fit and asking if they have open positions.  Job postings online tend to receive a lot of applications and use any criteria they can to reduce the amount of applications they need to screen.  Poor grammar will likely get him thrown out without consideration, but talking would allow his personality to show and identify him as someone who is learning English as a second language, as well as giving him the chance to apply to a job that hasn't been posted yet.

He should also consider taking a class to help his English.  Even if it doesn't end up working out, it would help send a signal to employers that he takes work seriously and isn't just looking for a place to retire.

Best of luck for your friend!

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I agree with others regarding bookkeeping or math tutor. Have him contact Sylvan, Mathnasium or comparable places. He could also place signs around local high schools advertising his math tutoring skills. He might also wish to consider looking into local government jobs, such as accounting clerk or auditing clerk or such. There are a lot of people I come into contact with at the local government level whose English is less than perfect. Good luck to him!

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Write content for websites in his native language.

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What language does he speak? In NYC there are hotel and restaurant  back of the house positions, where majority speaks only Spanish, Bengali, Chinese etc depending on location. Some of them are union houses and pay very well. 
Speak to locals of his native country in your/his area and see how and where they started with poor English skills.
And driving uber is not a bad job or anything that should be ashamed of.

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