Higher Staff Transition

To all our wonderful partners. My time with Higher is coming to an end. In fact, today is my last day in the office. I’m leaving to focus on school and some creative projects I’ve always wanted to pursue. The easiest way to express how I feel is to thank you all for helping make my time with Higher a fulfilling and life-changing role – Thank You!  

Please keep in touch! 

Here are five of the most important things I’ve learned over the past three years: 

1. The Upside to Being Outside of my Comfort Zone

I truly love to learn, and I have to admit, I’ve learned the most when I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone to do my job.  Whether standing behind an exhibition booth table or presenting in front of a room full of service providers, the situations that have caused me the most anxiety are, by far, my most cherished memories with Higher. I encourage each of you to do something that challenges you to learn something about yourself in the New Year. 

2. Practice Makes Perfect

When I think about the presentations, webinars and trainings I’ve done with Higher, the ones that I’m the most proud of are the ones that I’ve taken the time to practice. Over and over and over again. Coming into this role with Higher, I didn’t realize how much time goes into designing, developing and conducting an effective presentation.  Many of you do it every day and I’m inspired by your abilities!

3. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

When I first started with Higher, I thought that the fact that I lacked frontline experience working with refugees was something to be ashamed of.  As I started to get to know the network, it became clear that I was wrong – when I admitted that I needed help to understand the world of refugee employment, every person I talked to was SO HELPFUL. I’ve tried really hard to mirror the incredible generosity and kindness I’ve received from the network, but it’s difficult to imagine I’ve come close. You guys are amazing.

4. The Importance of Community

The timing couldn’t have been worse for me personally, but I’m so glad that I made time to attend the Welcoming Institute in August of 2015. Throughout the two-day event, Welcoming America somehow managed to change the way I think about communities, and more surprisingly, the role I wanted to play in my own local community. To summarize, I went from not really caring on day one to finding myself on Baltimore’s World Refugee Day planning committee before I even knew what was happening. Thanks, Welcoming America – I needed that!

5. A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way

Giving a compliment is easy, free, and motivational, but I wonder, can you remember the last time someone told you that you were doing a good job? Please, I’m not looking for a compliment – really. What I am hoping is that you pass on some kind words today – maybe to a colleague or maybe to a client – no matter what, you’ll make more of an impact than you will ever know. Here are a few easy phrases to get you started: “Keep up the good work!” “Great job!” “Thank You!”     

Reminder: Higher Webinar Tomorrow!

Collaborating with Mainstream Workforce Development and Taking Advantage of WIOA-funded Training Opportunities

 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

2:00 – 3:30pm EST

Higher has made a concerted effort over the past couple years to educate our network about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) and the ways in which collaborating with the mainstream workforce development system can increase training and career opportunities for refugees. When it comes to helping refugees transition from survival jobs to fulfilling career pathways with better wages, the mainstream system has a lot to offer.

The webinar will offer both government and refugee agency perspective on current opportunities and strategies for collaboration between refugee employment programs and mainstream funding.  Featured guest speakers include representatives of the U.S.of Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Education, and the International Institute of Saint Louis, a refugee agency that has a long history of successful mainstream partnership.

We hope you will join us!

Register here

Reminder: Register for Tomorrow’s Webinar – Financial Literacy: How to Teach the Basics

money backgroundFinancial Literacy: How to Teach the Basics

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2:00 – 3:15pm EST

This webinar will explore basic financial literacy topics to cover with clients to build a strong foundation for economic self-sufficiency. Presenters will highlight a variety of free financial literacy resources and will provide examples of community partnerships that can be replicated. Financial literacy curricula, job readiness activities and training tips will be shared throughout the training. 

Register here

Holiday Outreach Strategy + Holiday Graphic!

Showing appreciation for your employer partners is easier than ever before.

We designed this holiday graphic to provide you with an easy and quick way to send a thank you email to employers and community partners. 

You can do it in three easy steps:

1. Download a high resolution JPEG by right clicking on the below image and selecting “Save As”.

higher-holiday-card 2016

(or Download a PDF here)

2. Add your agency logo and message to an email.

3. Hit send.

Do you have a holiday outreach strategy that works? Please share in the comments below or contact us with the details!  

Volunteer Engagement: A Two-Part Series

8 Ways Volunteers Can Support Refugee Employment – Part 1

hs-245-laura-1Guest post by Laura Griffin, Program Coordinator for Volunteerism at LIRS 

We all know the feeling of not having enough hours in the day. One way to stretch your ability to serve refugee clients is to make volunteer support a core part of your employment program. 

A few weeks ago, I sat down with dozens of people from refugee employment programs around the country to ask: How do volunteers and interns support your work?

Here are 8 Ways to Leverage Volunteer Support for Refugee Employment:

1. One-on-One Job Readiness Support 

Volunteers can sit down with individual clients to practice for interviews, edit resumes, fill out job applications, and/or practice skills like how to use the computer to search for jobs.

2. Guest Speakers and Experts

Bring in volunteers as guest speakers from relevant fields (like IT) to talk with clients about the skills employers in their industry look for in job applicants.

3. Support for Highly Skilled Clients

Volunteers can provide individualized job readiness and placement assistance to highly skilled refugee clients.

4. Mentoringmentoring

Mentoring can focus on advanced job readiness training or industry-specific mentoring. If you are interested in designing a mentoring program to assist refugees with long-term career planning, see the free LIRS Guide for Employment Mentoring.

5. Assist with Job Development

Volunteers can help establish employer leads through community outreach, targeted calling and online searching. One participant shared that they have volunteers research job opportunities and send initial emails to potential employers to start the conversation.

6. Increase Access to Service

Volunteers can help enable clients to access employment services by providing rides or offering child care during job readiness classes.

7. Career Fairs 

Have volunteers take clients to career fairs and help them follow up with potential job leads

8. Case Support and Service Plans 

While it can seem a bit daunting, many participants shared success stories of having interns and star volunteers manage cases and design service plans.

How do you leverage volunteers and interns?  Leave a comment below or contact us if you use volunteers and interns to support your refugee employment programs.

Part 2 of this series will highlight tips and suggestions for effective volunteer management. 

Related: Additional Employment Volunteer Resources, New Collection of Employment Volunteer Resources

Higher’s Holiday Gift Guide

Earlier this month, when we asked for suggestions to inform our annual gift guide, we hoped to learn about one or two new businesses or products that help refugees earn more than minimum wage in jobs that offer dignity, training opportunities and supportive work environments. Thanks to the incredible response from across the refugee employment network, we received more recommendations than we can list, so here are the top 12. Enjoy!

anchor-of-hopeAnchor of Hope – A subscription service to receive monthly or quarterly boxes filled with items lovingly handmade by refugees, survivors of human trafficking and others in vulnerable situations, most living right here in the United States.

1470407423994

Beautiful Day Granola – Tastes great. Employs and trains refugees. They have several flavors to choose from, but if you’re new to Beautiful Day, try Keith’s Originala – it’s so good!

blb3Better Life Bags – Located in Detroit, Better Life Bags employs workers with barriers to employment including refugees/asylees.

broadwick-fibersBroadwick Fibers – We work with ACC here in Denver to employ refugees (well, just one right now but plans for more in the near future) who have come here from East Africa.    -Camille McMurry, owner of Broadwick Fibers

 

edEkata Designs – A Memphis based Jewelry business that exists to provide employment, income and training to refugees as they transition to a new life in America.

 

Kei & Molly Textiles A small, women owned and run business who has hired two of our Congolese clients!   -Kiri Mathsen, Job Developer at Lutheran Family Services of Rocky Mountains in Albuquerque, NM  

 

15056691_1142776845843269_4146344282048954368_nGAIA Empowered Women – Through a living wage and continued training and development, the goal of this Dallas-based social enterprise is to lead the women to financial independence and self-sufficiency.

 

knotty-tie-co-2Knotty Tie Co. – This company hires refugees who graduate from ECDC’s African Community Center of Denver’s “We Made This sewing program and teaches them to make beautiful, high quality ties and scarves.

 

artisan_candle_compactProsperity Candle – Refugee women help select the scents and make the gorgeous candles in collaboration with their artisan colleagues in Iraq.  Read more in a previous Higher blog post.

 

Threadies – Threadies are hand-sewn by a team of women in the West Bank who receive a living wage and valuable job training. When you purchase a Thready teddy bear, its twin goes to a child refugee, along with tools vital to help them cope with trauma.

 

usful-glassŪsful Glassworks – A Denver-based nonprofit with a mission to help people with employment barriers find jobs by providing on-the-job and vocational training to those in the community who need help, including refugees. 

 

wornWorn – A socially-conscious business of Catholic Charities Fort Worth with a mission to provide refugee women living in the United States a supplemental source of income, empowering them to rise above poverty. All products are hand-knit in the U.S. by women who have survived the afflictions of their war-torn and poverty-stricken homelands.

Free Professional Development Opportunity Next Tuesday, 11/29

wes-webinar

Who: The WES Global Talent Bridge Team

What: Webinar – What Employers Want in a Job Applicant

When: Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST

Why: You’ll hear from employers who will:

  • Share the do’s and don’ts of applying for a job
  • Provide advice on structuring your resume
  • Highlight useful interview skills
  • Offer ways to grow at your current job

How: Register by clicking here

Job Opening at IRC Dallas


dallasAre you ready for a change and looking to take the next step in your refugee employment career? Higher Peer Advisor Jim Stokes just let us know that IRC Dallas is looking for an Employment Supervisor. Here’s his elevator pitch:

“We could use your help!  IRC Dallas has posted this critical opening for an Employment Supervisor.  The office is a USP pacesetter in this core service, and we are looking for an experienced and inspiring supervisor to lead our program. This is a great career development opportunity!”

To see the full job description and to apply for this position, click here!

Greetings from the new Program Manager of Higher!

Hello everyone! Last Monday, (November 14, 2016) I became the new Program Manager for Higher. I’ve received a wonderful welcome from my co-workers Sarah and Daniel, as well as from the blog comments and network at large. Thank you for making me feel so welcome!

nicole-headshotPrior to coming to Higher, I worked in employment for a number of years with USCRI in their North Carolina field office. When I began with USCRI, my first project was to revitalize a Match Grant (MG) program with an 11% self-sufficiency rate (out of a 200 slot program). I worked as a job developer to establish new employer relationships and to design a job readiness curriculum that would lead my clients on a path to success. My network of peers, headquarters staff and the Higher team helped support me with the resources and connections I needed to build successful programs.

For four years I worked hard to secure funding to increase our capacity, while designing effective programs that would better serve our clients. I’m happy to say that when I left USCRI, we had four successful job programs and a job upgrade program that I established and saw funded before I left. The site now has a 96% self-sufficiency rate, a seven week job readiness curriculum, four programs and six staff.

I’m excited to take my work to the national level. I look forward to learning from all of you as well. At times employment staff can be both loved and hated by clients because our job links clients to their financial, social, and permanent success in the U.S. I know how hard the work that you do is, but I also know how talented and passionate every one of you is about the clients you serve. I hope that each of you will reach out to me at any time. I would like to hear your success stories so that I can celebrate you at a higher level.

Have a wonderful holiday and thank you for your service and partnership with refugees and immigrants!

Please keep in touch,

Nicole

nredford@lirs.org

November 29, 2016: WES Global Talent Bridge Webinar

wes-webinarWho: The WES Global Talent Bridge Team

What: Webinar – What Employers Want in a Job Applicant

When: Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST

Why: You’ll hear from employers who will:

  • Share the do’s and don’ts of applying for a job
  • Provide advice on structuring your resume
  • Highlight useful interview skills
  • Offer ways to grow at your current job

How: Register by clicking here