Chinatown agency worker matches immigrants to opportunity

Xinyu (Candy) Mac has a ready smile, keen ear and sharp mind. She puts all three to use by matching clients to promising jobs, with many satisfied customers referring her to friends.

Xinyu (Candy) Mac is an employment specialist at the Asian American Civic Association. The agency matched 325 clients to jobs for fiscal year 2017. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Xinyu (Candy) Mac is an employment specialist at the Asian American Civic Association. The agency matched 325 clients to jobs for fiscal year 2016. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Mac is an employment specialist at the Asian American Civic Association (AACA), a Chinatown agency providing new immigrants with language courses, job training and career services. She works on career services with the agency’s clients, which include new immigrants who speak little English and others who have extensive professional experience in their home country. Mac is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin, explaining the job process to clients in Chinese, then asking them to repeat the information in English.

Thanks to Mac’s efforts, the agency has matched 325 clients to jobs for fiscal year 2016 — 60 percent of which are her clients.

“She sees the possibility in everyone,” said Cyndy Chapin, director of employment services at the Asian American Civic Association and Mac’s manager. “Our goal is to go out into the community and get people to use our service. For the Chinese community, having someone who speaks Cantonese and Mandarin opens the door considerably.”

Mac has strong language proficiency as an immigrant from Guangxi, China. She earned a master’s degree in education at Northeastern University and taught language for seven years. Mac is a certified resume writer as well, serving as an employment specialist since March 2015.

“Her knowledge of the Chinese community is extensive. When she goes to employers, she speaks to the value of family, responsibility and integrity,” Chapin said. “As a former ESL teacher, she talks about how it is hard to learn and assimilate.”

Some of Mac’s clients have worked in all-Chinese environments, such as restaurants. Once they learn English — usually at English classes offered by AACA or other agencies — Mac provides the job preparation they need for a job in an English-speaking environment. Mac explains common interview questions, then conducts mock interviews in English. Her clients have gone on to work in retail service positions to information technology.

“Candy connects with employers and clients,” Chapin said. “They see the brilliance in her.”

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About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England 舢舨報紙總編輯。舢舨是全紐英倫唯一的中英雙語雙週報。
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