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Classified Employee Appreciation Week Profile: Massi Hunaidi
Photos and Story by James Hill
Massi Hunaidi has gone through some tough times to get to the United States. Now, she’s part of a team that helps others going through tough times of their own to land on their feet.
Hunaidi is one of five Classified staff at PCC being recognized for her contribution to the college for PCC’s Classified Employee Appreciation Week. For the past eight years, Hunaidi has worked for the college’s workforce development division at the Portland Metro Workforce Training Center as an accountant technician dealing with the bookkeeping, budgeting and other financial issues. She is part of the college that enables people who receive public assistance to develop their skills and be competitive in applying for family wage jobs.
“I like my job because I like working with numbers,” said Hunaidi, who volunteers her time at local Middle Eastern cultural events and her kids’ schools. “Every day I’m working with complex computer software program that are challenging. PMWTC helps them improve their skills and put them back to work. I’m really proud to be working here.”
Her work may be challenging but it’s nothing compared to when she immigrated to the U.S. Hunaidi, who got her accounting degree from Jordan, was working as an auditor in an U.S. accounting firm based in Kuwait in the early 1990s when Iraq invaded, sparking the first Gulf War. She and her husband escaped the turmoil and came to Portland.
“It was a huge transition from the Middle East to here,” said Hunaidi, who is from Palestine. “We had to leave behind everything and start from scratch. My husband had to work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet so it was a really hard transition. We came from a different background and culture as well. So, we had to slowly adapt to all these changes. It was a hard transition, but it worked out really well in the end.”
As her boys grew up, Hunaidi used her accounting degree to assist small businesses with bookkeeping as well as work in retail in the evenings and weekends. When her kids got old enough, she was ready to seek out a full-time job and took computer software and management training classes at PCC to build her skills because she said, “I liked the atmosphere because the instructors were very helpful and classes were really small. You get to know everybody.”
Today as a longtime employee for the college, Hunaidi is loving her job and the camaraderie of her office. She said this recognition reflects the philosophy of teamwork that the college has fostered.
“I was really surprised and honored to receive this sort of recognition,” she added. “PCC is really respectful and valuable. It gives a lot to the community, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”