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Safeway aiming to hire Afghan refugees in western Washington

Next month, Safeway will host a job fair specifically for Afghan refugees. It's an opportunity that comes as the nation faces a workforce shortage.

KENT, Wash. — The Afghanistan that Mohammad Haroon Habibi left is now just a memory.

“The country is gone. Now there is no more system, no jobs,” Habibi said. “Everybody, even in my family was happy that we were moving."

Habibi is among hundreds of refugee families adjusting to life in Washington state after the fall of the Afghan government in August.

“Washington state is a welcoming state for the people from Afghanistan, leaving the chaos of Afghanistan for the fertile fields of Washington state,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in October.

The Afghan Health Initiative is just one of many nonprofits helping new refugees make the transition.

“That’s one of the things about our community, is that we are very hard working and we want to make sure that they are not relying on systems of government benefits for a long time,” said Navid Hamidi, executive director of the Afghan Health Initiative.

For that to happen they would need jobs. That’s where Safeway comes in.

“What we were told by the Afghan Health Initiative is that the number one request we are getting from refugees is jobs,” said Sara Osborne, a Safeway spokesperson.

Habibi, a business man with a bachelors degree, was the first to be offered a job in the grocery store on the spot. A job he happily accepted.

“I can tell you that in seventeen years I didn’t have a one-week gap of changing jobs … as soon as I get a job we will start,” he continued.

Next month, Safeway will host a job fair specifically for Afghan refugees – it's an opportunity that comes as the nation faces a workforce shortage.

Soon, the father of six will get to work – the beginning of a new career in a new hometown.

KING 5’s annual Home Team Harvest drive to benefit Northwest Harvest is underway. This year’s goal is to raise 21 million meals. Ways to donate: Online at king5.com/hometeamhavest, text “HOMETEAM” to 41444 or starting Nov. 1, visit your local Safeway or Albertson’s to give $5, $10 or $12 toward grocery cards. 

Watch the Home Team Harvest broadcast special on Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. on KING 5, king5.com and the KING 5 mobile app.