June 18 2020

Success Story: Talent Connect Helps Newcomer from South Korea Find Her Calling

In August 2018, Sonya Kim moved to the Capital Region from South Korea after her husband, a chemical engineer, was transferred from Momentive Performance Materials’ R&D center in Seoul to its headquarters in Waterford. She didn’t know anyone in the area, and, with two young children, the elementary school system was unfamiliar to her.

About a month after moving, Sonya learned about the Center for Economic Growth’s Talent Connect program. The program’s services, provided through Momentive’s investment in CEG, helps talent hired from outside the region and their spouses adjust to their new home and make cultural, vocational, educational and other connections within the community.

Talent Connect Director Joanne Cornell met Sonya late that summer. Joanne explained to Sonya how the elementary school system would work for her first- and fifth-grade children. Joanne also learned of Sonya’s desire to return to teaching after a 10-year pause in her career to focus on her family and make other moves related to her husband’s position.

Joanne helped Sonya develop her résumé and included a profile of her in Talent Connect’s quarterly e-newsletter. Last May, that caught the attention of Kim Andersen the founder and director of the Capital Region Language Center (CRLC) and Empire State English in Albany. Andersen employs 20 teachers who teach nine languages to children and adults throughout the region. With Sonya’s first language being Korean and with her master’s degree being in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Andersen thought she would be a perfect fit for CRLC.

“We support the work CEG does in the Capital Region, and we know how important it is to help people feel settled in,” said Andersen.

Sonya started teaching Korean for CRLC in June 2019, and last spring she became an academic program coordinator for Empire State English, which provides adult-level ESL.

“It was amazing I could find a job that matched my background,” said Sonya.

All CEG members have access to Talent Connect services. To schedule a New Hire Navigation, or to learn how Talent Connect can help your business attract or retain skilled workers, call Program Manager Joanne Cornell at 518-465-8975, ext.222 or email her at joannec@ceg.org. Learn more about Talent Connect here.


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