Jai Parsai, 2019 Computer Service Technician / Network Installer
Helpdesk Technician at Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. (North Attleboro, MA)
Born in Bhutan, I was just a baby when my parents were forced to flee the country.
For 21 years, I lived in a refugee camp in Nepal. It was a struggle. My father passed away when I was two years old. We were not allowed to become citizens, so I had no cultural identity. The family’s resources were limited. Every fifteen days, we would receive rice and vegetables to cook and eat—just enough, with no extra. The house we lived in was made of bamboo; the roof would leak every summer.
Bhutan wouldn’t take us back; Nepal wouldn’t give us citizenship.
We had freedom to go anywhere within Nepal; there was no fence—no boundaries. But without citizenship, I could not immigrate to another country. We could travel to India, but could not gain citizenship there. I never imagined that one day I could have the opportunity to become a citizen of the United States.
Growing up in Nepal; we didn’t have a TV or computer.
Most people my age grew up with technology. I was 19 years old, a student in college, when I first used a computer. I expected I would take a low salaried position in Nepal after graduation. I needed to support my family. After two years in college, I taught English, science and math at a private school. I loved teaching grades 2 - 8; I like kids.
I met the woman I would eventually marry while I was teaching in Nepal.
Anita was a local Nepali girl. I would go to her house to get a drink of water. She knew I was a refugee, but did not know when we met that I would be going to the United States. We fell in love.
The refugee population was growing.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration( IOM) partnered to assist refugees with a legitimate fear of persecution to make a permanent settlement in a third country. Resettlement was at will; you could choose where you wanted to go. The possibilities offered to me were Canada, Australia, Demark, Norway, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United State; I chose the United States. My Uncle randomly selected Rhode Island; my mother wanted to be with her brother. In 2010, I chose to come to Rhode Island to be with my uncle and mother.
The resettlement was tightly restricted to refuges and was not for Nepali locals.
My future wife promised me, ‘I will wait no matter how long it takes for you to become a United States citizen’. We trusted each other. She waited 6 years in Nepal while I gained US citizenship. After becoming a citizen in 2015, I returned in 2016 to Nepal and married Anita. As a citizen, I had the legal right to have my wife join me in the States. Today she is a permanent resident; next year she can apply for citizenship.
When I first arrived in the US in 2010, I was welcomed.
I had learned to speak English at the refugee camp—it was ‘British English’. The slang in the US was a little more challenging; the ‘flavor’ was different. I could understand everything said to me, but people had difficulty understanding me. When I began working in the US, people at my workplace helped by correcting me when my English was wrong.
I’ve been given a lot of opportunity in the United States.
I love Rhode Island—it is a beautiful state. Everywhere I go, I meet nice people. For 8 years I worked at Lumetta. The owner and the team became like a family to me. I had no manufacturing or electrical knowledge; they gave me the opportunity to assist the Assembly Supervisor. When, after 2 years, he moved out of the position, I was promoted to Assembly Supervisor. In 2015 I was promoted to Electrical Supervisor. The company would have paid for me to attend school to become an Electrician. I could have worked during the day and gone to electrician school at night.
I left my well-paid job with a good company to attend MTTI’s Computer & Networking program.
My passion—my dream--was to learn computer technology. My wife and I met with the Admissions Rep, Cheryl, and with the Instructor, Ken, on the same day. Visiting the class, I saw it was smaller in size. The instructor had enough time to work with students one-on-one. In a big class, you will not have all of your questions answered. When you spend more time working directly with the Instructor, you get more knowledge.
I had attended a semester of IT at a community college.
It would have taken 2 years—24 months—to earn the degree. At MTTI, every aspect of IT is covered—and it can all be done in 7 months. My instructor, Ken,is very knowledgeable. The way he taught matched my style of learning. Although my computer experience was less than most of my classmates, I did everything I could do to ‘catch up’. My hard work paid off—I earned the Highest Average Award in my class. I wasn’t looking for the result or the rank—I just wanted the knowledge.
Shawn in Career Services helped me identify places to inquire about internship.
After dropping my resume at these places, I googled ‘IT services in Massachusetts’ and the name ‘Automation Concepts & Technologies came up. At 3:40 pm, it was my eighth and last stop. I knocked on the door and introduced myself to Jessica and Drew. Drew told me he is a 2016 graduate, hired directly from MTTI’s program; he knew what I had learned. Jessica emailed me the next day. I had expected one interviewer—but instead three people interviewed me. They asked me to explain TCPI and networking to them. Finally, they shook my hand and asked if I would like to intern with them.
I learned a lot at MTTI that supports me in continuing to learn at Automation Concepts.
The team I work with answers all my questions and teaches me new things. They are supportive—they push me to learn more—but don’t worry about me ‘messing up’. My team knows I have good knowledge from MTTI, so they have confidence in my ability to learn quickly. They let me figure it out first by myself and then they will help me. I am so glad that I knocked on the door of Automation Concepts & Technologies!
I am doing networking and troubleshooting on the job; my goal is to be a Senior Network Tech.
We work with commercial clients, like the YMCA, Bernie & Phyls and Premiere Ultrasound. I exercise caution and ask questions before I make major mistakes—how, when, why, what do you want me to do? Between my knowledge from MTTI and the questions I ask, they are comfortable giving me anything and everything. They also like the documentation I do. I learned from my Instructor, Ken, how to create step-by-step documentation, so that someone else can do the same operation tomorrow.
I feel fortunate that I am a citizen of the United States.
The United States is the greatest country—you are lucky if you grow up here. I thank my Instructor, Ken, who passed on his knowledge to me. I appreciate Cheryl, the Admissions Rep, for motivating me as she walked me through the enrollment process, and for help from Alicia in Financial Aid. Shawn, in Career Services constantly sent emails about job opportunities and helped me create a resume. Thank you, Susanne, for listening to my story. I appreciate the help and support of the team at Automated Concepts—Brian, Carlos and Jessica. I am most grateful to my mom, Hari Parsai, and my wife, Anita Oli, for their trust in me and support of my choice to train for a computer & networking career.
Because of MTTI, at work, I am touching everything.
Going to MTTI is the best decision you can make; the hands-on training is a big benefit—half theory and half practice. Doing is learning—I learn more when I do it. The Computer & Networking curriculum is a complete package to train you for the IT industry—from networking to PC troubleshooting. MTTI’s program doesn’t lead to just one position—you can work as Helpdesk, Network Administrator, Field Technician or as an Internal Technician within an IT company, and across many different industries.
As a refugee living in Nepal, I would not have been able to train for a computer & networking career.
I would not have been able to earn a good livelihood. Without good work you cannot fill your own or your family’s hungry stomachs. Without a good house you cannot protect yourself or your family from the rain. In Nepal, which is an agricultural country, there is a saying: ‘You need to have a good set of tools to dig a barren field. The wrong set of tools will make the digging take days. With the right set of tools you can dig that field in a day.’ I was able to complete the Computer & Networking program in only 7 months—at graduation I was already hired and working in the industry I am passionate about. I am very grateful that I got the right set of tools at MTTI.
Top - Jai with his Instructor, Ken Souza, at graduation.
Middle - Jai in MTTI's lab during the telecom cross-training
Bottom - Jai holding his son during graduation