Kathmandu to King County: Risk-taking Army veteran finds his niche
Throughout his travels in Nepal, Utah and Washington, Yub Giri has stayed focused on his priorities. First it was pursuing a degree in civil engineering at Brigham Young University. Then he joined the U.S. Army, working as a dental assistant, map reading instructor and Barrack Maintenance Supervisor in addition to other duties. Now he’s intent on making the most out of his Vets 4 HIRE Fellowship, and credits the people he’s met along the way for getting him started on a successful transition to civilian life.
“Here at King County people want you to succeed, and they want the best for you,” he said. “In my view, King County is doing good things for vets in helping us get back to a civilian career.”
Originally from a small city in western Nepal, Yub attended high school in Kathmandu, the capitol of the country. Known for a temperate climate and worldwide travel appeal, the city is where Yub became interested in studying abroad. His high school principal encouraged him to travel and with the added support of his family, he became the first person in the small city he was born in to come to the United States.
Yub came to the U.S. for the first time in 2007, arriving to cold winter weather in Kirksville, Missouri. When he later moved to Provo, Utah in 2008 for college he faced a few challenges.
“I missed my family initially, but later, after I made friends, then it became easier,” he said. “I also had a hard time with the food at first, it seemed really sweet and cheesy.”
After college Yub joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In 2015 Public Health – Seattle and King County brought him on as an unpaid intern for 4 months, while he was still on active duty, through the Camo 2 Commerce Program. This program at JBLM helps soldiers within one year of transitioning out of the military to receive civilian employment experience.
“I worked in Public Health as an intern, but I asked the program manager if she could help me explore a career in wastewater management,” Yub said. “From there I was connected to Career Support Services and was able to participate in a job shadow opportunity with a civil engineer in DNRP.”
Yub excelled in his internship, using lean principles to make significant data management process improvements. He soon grew to consider how he could make King County his permanent professional home and decided to apply to the Vets 4 HIRE Fellowship.
“The job shadowing let me get a feel of what it’s like to work as an engineer or to be a part of King County,” he said. “So when I heard about the fellowship I wanted to do it.”
“This program will help me network with people in the field and get me started with a career.”
Currently, Yub is working in a civil engineering fellowship with King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division. Direct about his desire to build up his skill set, Yub shares how military experience can be difficult to translate into civilian employment.
“Any veteran has worked on a team, there’s no way to achieve success without being on a team,” he said. “But on the civilian side it can be hard to outline skills like this in a resume.”
He does consider this an asset though, remarking that it’s part of the overall skill set veterans bring.
“Working in a team, doing things in a timely manner – precise and fast –, being dependable and knowing how to manage things,” he said. “Any military personnel knows very well how to be a project manager.”
Ultimately, Yub would like to pursue a full time King County position, and considers being a veteran fellow the best next step in his professional development.
“I am growing both career-wise and as a person,” he said. “This program lets me see how certain jobs are done daily from the inside and what it’s like to work in the public sector.”
“I am learning how to take military experience and turn it into something other people can understand.”
Practical and purpose driven, Yub looks forward to making the most out of his fellowship and the meaningful connections he has made here at King County.
“I plan to work as much as I can and connect with the project management group, leaning what will get my resume looking stronger to make me a better candidate to apply for a King County career,” he said.
“I am grateful to have these opportunities provided to me through Vets 4 HIRE.”
In addition to this professional goal, Yub also looks forward to spending time with his wife, who just moved here from Nepal, and also to one day seeing the Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona play at their home stadium Camp Nou.
King County is committed to building an atmosphere of innovation that attracts dedicated people from across the nation. This includes veterans and military service personnel whose talents, experiences and perspectives add value to achieving this goal. King County will continue these efforts through the Vets 4 HIRE Fellowship Program and by working with JBLM to continue hosting more service members.
For more information about the Vets 4 HIRE program visit www.kingcounty.gov/Vets4HIRE. If you are interested in welcoming a veteran into your department, agency or unit, contact your human resources representative about creating a veteran fellowship experience. Act quickly as funding is limited to the first 16 opportunities, and runs out at the end of 2016.