Alum helps Ukrainian refugees find jobs

Healdsburg-based job acceleration platform HireHero.net is recruiting and training Ukrainian college students amidst the country’s current political turmoil to immigrate and work in America and Canada.

Co-founder of HireHero.net and Sonoma State alum Davis Jones explained how the company teaches its growing Ukrainian cohort how to prepare English resumes, job searching techniques and offer guidance as they seek opportunities to immigrate to America and Canada as political refugees.

Jones said that they started recruiting Ukrainian students approximately two weeks ago when his fellow MBA peer, Yevgen Pleshkan, contacted him in search of a job in America or Canada. Ever since the initial contact with Pleshkan, HireHero.net now works with 13 Ukrainian clients.

“Yevgen reached out to me saying ‘I am ardently looking to get a job in the US and Canada’. From there, he started to speak to people in his network about what he was doing and that’s how the word got out,” Jones said. “[Yevgen] and these people he referred to me are basically seeing that this might be an ideal time to immigrate somewhere, especially like Canada.”

Sonoma State political science professor Robert McNamara cautioned that companies like HireHero.net have an “added responsibility” when recruiting Ukrainian students to consider the importance of the youth voice during its current political climate.

“Considering the historical changes going on in the Ukraine, [HireHero.net] has an added task to see what the implications are by taking youth out of the country. [The students] maybe should be part of that political change right now,” McNamara said. “These students are being recruited at a time when their voices may be important regardless of whatever side of the dispute they may be on right now.”

Jones’ counterpoint to McNamara is “reform is not guaranteed” and staying in the Ukraine could be a “waste” of the students’ talents.

“There are huge structural issues in the [Ukrainian] economy that have to be worked out before a young mind could have anything worth a chance to make a difference like they could in an economy with a well-working system,” Jones said.

Jones expanded upon the benefits of job training at HireHero.net, particularly how it provides its Ukrainian and Middle Eastern students with a competitive edge in the global job market.

“Anglo-business culture is the dominant thread in business throughout the world. When people from Eastern Europe and the Middle East start to work with the team from HireHero.net they really get a real edge in the labor market. It is especially in those countries because they’re not doing the proactive approach Americans take,” Jones said.

Jones acknowledged that the transition of assimilating Ukrainian students into the American and Canadian job market will be an arduous process.

“It’s complicated because they’re going to be working with people in Canada and the U.S. maybe. They’ll have to navigate the whole process of working there as well as secure a job. On top of that they will have to navigate the Canadian visa process and claiming political asylum, it’s hard,” Jones said.

With clients in Dubai, Germany and France, Jones described the international expansion of HireHero.net as an “organic” process that integrates within the overall vision for the company.

“The vision is to be a global resource for people with zero to 10 years of business experience on job searching. For places to expand [our business], we are looking at places like Brazil, Chile, Peru and China. Places where cultures tend to be fairly open, people tend to network pretty openly,” Jones said.

Sonoma State professor of business and finance Michael Santos maintained contact with Jones and perceives relationships with graduate students as a “valuable source” to help undergraduates find a job after graduation.

“We are keeping in touch in terms of his goals, and also from my side I am able to take his experiences to my current students,” Santos said.

Santos emphasized that it’s critical for students to “take initiative” to learn about job market in their field of study.

“Students should take initiative in every field to go and talk to their professors in office hours about what the job market in their industry has to offer,” Santos said.