Refugees Carry on the Pioneering Spirit

Utah was founded by pioneers seeking refuge from oppression and that tradition continues today. In his final State of the State address, Governor Gary Herbert compared the refugees living in Utah to the pioneers who founded the state.

“Today new modern pioneers are still coming here in search of a better life and new opportunities,” Herbert said.

Utah is home to more than 65,000 refugees, and each of them add culture and diversity to the state. They all come with a hope for a better life and a desire to make a positive impact on their community.

During his speech, Governor Herbert focused on one refugee in particular, who found his passion and is now working towards a successful career. Mohamed Al Soudani resettled in the U.S. six years ago. Mohamed worked hard to do well in school and learn English, all while maintaining a part-time job to help support his family.

He discovered that he enjoyed working with computers, so he began working towards a career in the tech industry. He earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science, completed an internship with BlueHost and took classes at the Utah Refugee Education and Training Center to improve his skills.

Upon completion of his training at the Center, he was hired by Nav, a small business services company in Draper, and is now making a six-figure salary. 

Governor Herbert commended Al Soudani for his hard work, and other refugees making a positive impact in Utah.

“He and his colleagues embody the same pioneering spirit that has defined us since 1847,” said Herbert.

Al Soudani now volunteers to teach classes at the Utah Refugee Education and Training Center to help other refugees reach their goals. 

Watch Governor Herbert share Mohamed's story in his State of the State address here:

Click here for more information about the Utah Refugee Education and Training Center.