Episode 2

A Truck Driving School Helps Refugees Start Careers in the U.S.

“Back in the day, my dad didn't know of any Arabic truck driving school. He was forced to learn the language first, worked these oddball jobs, and then came back to what he knows and has been doing for the rest of his life,” says Danny Alsheikh. Rassem and Alsheikh help Arab refugees start a career in the United States with their trucking school.
Apr 18, 2024 — 1 min read

Starring

Starring

Danny Alsheikh and his father Rasseem are the owners of Rasseem Truck Driving School in Dearborn, Michigan.

About this video series

Only In Dearborn

Only In Dearborn

Only In Dearborn highlights five Arab-owned businesses to explore the intersection of identity, community, and entrepreneurship.

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Transcript

Danny Alsheikh: One of my greatest joys is knowing that I'm going to wake up and see my father for the next eight to 10 hours. The relationship we built, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I was born into the line of trucking because my father, he's been truck driving ever since he was 17 years old. That's what he did his whole life. That's the only thing he knows. He left Syria for a better opportunity, better life. He was forced to learn the language. First worked these oddball jobs. He worked at donut shops, but he wasn't a donut maker, so he felt out of position. Everything he did until he went back in the trucking, you can just look at his face and know he's back at where he knows what to do. It's probably one of the worst feelings he's had when he couldn't communicate with someone else. He didn't want to make anyone feel like that anymore.

So he decided to open up a school. We can train him in Arabic, but also teach him the laws and everything in English on the road. When I was young, he'd take me with him. When I was off school, I thought my father was this amazing guy driving this huge metal vehicle around. It was just one of the best memories I've had growing up. I'll never forget them. If my father didn't like trucking, if he didn't enjoy it, he did it just for the money. He would've never have made it this far. He started in a parking lot, maybe a quarter of this size that we have now. We have people from basically every Arabic country, Yemen and Syria, Iraq, Afghan students. Also, because of the new refugees coming along.

We always have fun together. We're laughing together and we're learning together. The appreciation of what I feel after a person graduates, I never thought it would feel so good, but it really does. So I always tell the students, take time. They're paying you to travel all around America, and it's a beautiful country. It shows other people, even though you come here with no language, if you work hard and you’re dedicated, you can make something. Just got to be dedicated.

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