WHY EMPLOYMENT SERVICES
The employment program at World Relief helps to connect refugees to their new communities. Finding a job meets several needs in the lives of the families we serve. The most obvious need is that refugees can become self-sufficient and independent. This is truly a desire of those resettling in the United States and is a primary goal for World Relief. Our clients often express their aspirations of wanting to add to their new communities and be engaged in their new culture. Many of these men and women, who have been contributing members of society in their home countries, do not want to have to rely on other people or on government systems in order to survive in their new homes. Finding a job also provides refugees with a sense of worth and accomplishment. Their children and families can be proud of them. They take incredible pride in what they do and do not take their responsibilities lightly.
People often focus on barriers to hiring refugees. They think about the fact that English is not the first language of our clients. Employers know that there are customs, procedures, and practices in United States employment that may need to be taught and may not come naturally to foreign born employees. The employment program at World Relief seeks to teach such concepts as interview skills, appropriate hygiene, and common employment practices through Job Readiness classes and continued job coaching. Our clients are also very motivated and hard working. Because they take pride in having a job in America and understand the repercussions that not having a job would have on them and their families, they tend to keep their jobs for a significant amount of time and maintain strong work ethics.
Refugees are legal immigrants with the right to work. They begin looking for a job (see WRD’s role below) very soon after they arrive in the U.S. Refugees work in a wide variety of places, ranging from restaurants, hotels, janitorial companies, landscaping companies, etc.
- WRD or CWS, as well as the refugee client, are responsible for helping the refugee client find a job. This is not at all the volunteer’s responsibility; however, the volunteer is encouraged to assist in the job search process.
- WRD hosts a weekly jobs class that WRD refugee clients are required to attend while job searching and until they find a job.
Volunteers can assist refugee clients with their job search in the following ways:
- Filling out mock job applications: Gather various job applications from employer websites or places of business. Then, practice filling out an application with refugees and decide whether they are interested in applying to the particular business/organization. If so, find out if the business/organization is hiring. Focus on any English words that may be confusing or new to the refugees.
- Conducting mock interviews: Participate in mock interviews with the refugee. See ‘resources’ page on WRD’s website for materials.
- Job skills training: Reiterate what refugee clients are learning in WRD jobs class using the class lesson presentations. See the ‘resources’ page on WRD’s website for class lesson presentations.
- Recruit potential employers: Tap into your networks – work, church, sports teams, family, etc. – to see if anyone you know is interested in hiring refugees. If you know of anyone, please contact WRD’s employment specialist.
- Research available jobs: With a refugee client by your side, research employers on the bus line, within walking distance or easily accessible by bicycle (if your refugee client has one) who are hiring.
- Be a refugee’s advocate: Assist the refugee in filling out an application. Then, go with the refugee to the employer to turn in the application. When visiting the employer, act as an advocate for the refugee.
- Maintaining a job: Once a refugee is employed, sit down with him/her and explain the importance of timeliness, not missing work, appropriate dress and proper work behavior typical of American businesses/organizations.
- Assist with Transportation: Drive and accompany a refugee when searching for jobs nearby or attending a job interview. Once a refugee accepts a position, assist with learning routes to and from a job and with arranging transportation if the job requires work shifts at times when public transportation may be inconsistent (i.e. Sundays or night shifts).
Volunteers can access documents relating to the above opportunities here. In general, refugee clients are either resettled through WRD’s Match Grant program or its R&P program. See the “Match Grant Program” page for more information on the program.
Match Grant: WRD receives funding for intense employment assistance for refugee clients enrolled in its Match Grant program. This assistance occurs during the first six months a refugee client is living in the U.S. However, in addition to the employment efforts made by WRD staff, volunteers working with Match Grant clients are encouraged to assist in the job search process utilizing the strategies and activities listed above.
Relocation & Placement (R&P): WRD does not receive funding for intense employment assistance for refugee clients placed in the R&P program. Therefore, WRD refers clients to CWS, another refugee resettlement agency in Durham that does receive funding to offer intense employment assistance for refugee clients. However, in addition to the employment efforts made by WRD staff, volunteers working with R&P clients are encouraged to assist in the job search process utilizing the strategies and activities listed above.
- Volunteers who are working with R&P refugee clients need to encourage refugees to be in consistent communication with their employment case worker, informing him/her about any leads on jobs or job search progress. This includes any job searching or employment training done with volunteers.