Hao Truong is a Vietnamese war refugee who came to the United States in 1978. While en route from Vietnam to Thailand in 1977, his boat was attacked by pirates. He was separated from his wife and infant son, spending 16 hours floating in the South China Sea before being rescued.
Hao made a new life for himself in the United States, moving to Rochester, NY and learning a trade as a machinist.
After losing his job in 2009, Hao decided that it was time to upgrade his skills to make himself more marketable. He enrolled in the AAS degree program in Precision Machining at Monroe Community College, which included coursework in CNC programming/setup and Mastercam, along with some English as a Second Language instruction. RochesterWorks! was able to help him with some of his training costs and his approval to take his coursework while receiving Unemployment.
Hao worked very hard to complete his associate’s degree program. After finishing, he was able to find a CNC Machine Operator position with a local machine shop.
Says Don Beech, academic support services counselor at Monroe Community College, “Hao was a very motivated learner. He took advantage of what was here in terms of support services. He was very conscientious and just a great student to work with.”
As a happy postscript to Hao’s story, in 2011 he was finally reunited with the son from whom he had been separated 34 years earlier during his flight from Vietnam. The story about Hao’s reunion with his son can be found at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2064622/Hao-Truong-son-Kham-reunited-pirate-attack-separated-34-years-ago.html.