Milpitas Adult Education alumna Hande Omercikoglu Tuncer, a native of Turkey who immigrated to the United States in 2014, recently earned the CalWORKs 30th Anniversary Client Achievement Award for her efforts to elevate herself and her family toward self-sufficiency.
Tuncer, a mother of two who could not speak English when she arrived, studied to acquire the second language and eventually was referred to MAE for the English as a Second Language Program in August 2019.
“I made a decision to improve my English as much as possible and find a job,” said Tuncer, who developed into a class leader and recorded perfect attendance while at MAE. “After I studied for a couple of months, my self-confidence improved much more than I expected.”
Soon Tuncer was referred to Paid-Work Experience (PWEX) with Santa Clara County, where her “supervisor and teammates were impressed with her work ethic, cheerful personality, and professionalism,” according to her CalWORKS awards application. Five days a week, Tuncer continued taking ESL classes in the mornings while working at PWEX in the afternoons. In February 2020, Tuncer was hired as a full-time Office Specialist for PWEX.
At the Oct. 13 meeting, Superintendent Cheryl Jordan and the MUSD Board of Education honored Tuncer, who was joined by MAE Principal Giuliana Brahim, Assistant Principal Aven Magana and CalWORKS site representative Minh Nguyen.
“You are an inspiration to all of us,” said Principal Brahim of Tuncer.
Nguyen, who would come once a week to meet with Tuncer and MAE staff, added: “She felt immediately welcome when she started her ESL class. I just appreciate the team effort of Milpitas Adult Ed that has enabled all of us to reach out and help our students achieve their goals.”