Training Shortens Entry Path into U.S. Financial Field

We’ve all learned that having overseas financial services experience doesn’t guarantee quick entry into the U.S. banking industry. Fortunately that traditionally long journey toward entering the U.S. financial sector has been shortened for some refugees, thanks to industry training initiatives.

Pictured is Baktash Muhammadi

Baktash Muhammadi, for example, resettled from Afghanistan to the U.S. in the summer of 2017,  started Goodwill’s BankWork$ financial services training program within three weeks of arrival. Upon completion of the free, eight-week training program, Baktash was quickly employed as a relationship banker at Bank of the West and is on a career path he loves!

BankWork$ provides training for young adults from low income and minority communities to prepare them for jobs as bank tellers, customer service representatives, and personal bankers. Graduates are supported not only in their initial job searches, but receive continued mentoring to help with future job upgrades as well. Last year, BankWork$ placed 75% of its graduates with partner banks, including Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. Click here to see their upcoming class schedule as well as application information. If your city isn’t currently included, check out other Federal Employment Training Program options in your state and stay tuned for future updates from BankWork$ as they continue to add new sites around the country.

Written by guest blogger Carrie Thiele.

3 Tools to Help Identify Your Clients’ Skills

The urgent need for qualified employees in fast-growing fields is shifting employer’s priorities from requiring specific credentials toward identifying in-demand skills. This is beneficial for our clients, who often have the skills required for jobs but do not have U.S. credentials upon arrival. Here are three tools that can help you identify your clients’ skills:

These resources are all linked under the job seekers’ page at Skillful, a web-based initiative that aims to align people looking for work, training programs, and career coaches with the specific skills heavily needed by employers.

This post was written by Guest Blogger, Carrie Thiele.

Webinars This Week: Refugee Legal Rights & Career Tips for Skilled Immigrants

There are two webinars this week that you or your clients may be interested in. The first webinar is on Wednesday evening, and will share important information designed to help refugees, asylees and SIV recipients understand their rights in the U.S. The second webinar is on Thursday afternoon, and will share essential strategies that skilled immigrants with foreign credentials can use to advance in their careers.

Here is the information for each webinar:

Photo: www.mirovni-institut.si/

What Does it Mean to be a Refugee in the U.S.? Refugee Legal Rights Discussion Post-Election

Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EST

Upwardly Global, in collaboration with the International Refugee Assistance Project, is organizing a virtual webinar to educate the refugee, asylee and SIV populations as well as interested community members about refugee rights and their eligibility as U.S. residents. Please join us in the discussion about what it means to be a refugee, asylee and/or SIV; how to protect oneself from discrimination and how to create more welcoming communities for refugees. To register, click here.

Photo: BEWFAA/The Washington Post

10 Essential Tips for Career Success

Thursday, January 19th, 2017, 2:00 p.m. EST

Over the past year, WES Global Talent Bridge in the US and Canada have shared resources and methods on helping skilled immigrants succeed in their journey to continue their careers using credentials from abroad. As we begin the new year, we will revisit webinars and events hosted in 2016 and share key messages as well as resources that skilled immigrants need to consider as they work to integrate professionally in their new country. To register, click here.

 

Happy New Year!!

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!

This year has been very challenging and stressful but as always employment staff remained resilient and rose to the challenge. We thank you for your service to you refugee and immigrant clients.If you need any employment assistance or just want to reach out, Higher is always here to support. Email information@higheradvantage.org

 

CareerDescriptions.org predicted the following top 5 careers by 2017. Do you agree?

Happy Holidays from Higher

Photo Credit The Cramer Insititute

Photo Credit The Cramer Institute

These past few months have been incredibly busy for everyone in resettlement across the country. We hope you all employment staff can take some time just to relax because you have definitely earned it. Employment is no easy job and the skill-set that each one of you has is so vital to the resettlement of refugees. Each of your clients benefit when you work together to place them in jobs.

Before you go, please check in with both employers and clients before you take vacation because no one wants to come back to a crisis. Most importantly, please take care of yourselves so you can get back to your awesome and life changing work in New Year.

If we at Higher can give your more information that you need in order to succeed in your job or if you need someone to talk through a tough situation please do not hesitate to reach out, we are always available information@higheradvantage.org.

Stay safe and take care.

 

 

Discussing the Changes to the FY17 Matching Grant Program Guidelines

In June, the Office of Refugee Resettlement released the FY17 Program Guidelines for Matching Grant. MG is a highly competitive program and requires significant program outcomes so staying aware of changes to the program guidelines is very important.

Many of you are already familiar with the FY17 changes, but just in case you missed the memo, here are two important changes you need to know about:

  1. Home visits are required for non-R&P clients (any client not resettled by your agency). Here are a few examples of clients that that this policy would apply to:
    • A family of 4 asylees was granted asylum just 12 days ago and comes to your office requesting employment services. After verifying their date of asylum, copying their eligibility documents and conducting a through intake and assessment you decide (you may need to request permission from headquarters) to enroll the family in MG.
    • Another agency calls and says they have a family of 3 recently arrived SIV recipients. After meeting the family, conducting an intake and assessment, and verifying eligibility and requesting permission from the other agency, you enroll the family in MG.
    • A Cuban parolee comes to your office on day 30 and has already applied for her EAD and you live in a state where the EAD come in quickly. You assess the situation and decide to enroll the client in MG.

A home visit must be conducted for each of these clients if they are enrolled in your MG program if they are receiving funds for housing. The home visit should ideally be conducted with an interpreter to ensure the housing is safe then the staff must be documented in the client’s case notes. Please check with your RA for specifics of how to conduct this visit. 

2.Potential clients who arrive without the benefit of R&P services must be screened for human trafficking. If there is reason to believe that the client has been trafficked an appropriate referral must be made. This change pertains to potential MG clients who did not come through the Reception and Placement program. Examples include:

    • Cuban or Haitian entrants with paroled status
    • SIV recipients who travel to the United States on their own
    • Asylees

Photo credit CWS Durham

ORR does say that this rule will only apply after the Office of Trafficking in Persons (under the Administration for Children and Families) and Refugee Council USA have jointly developed a screening procedure. After speaking with RCUSA that policy has yet to be developed. If this changes, Higher will be sure to send an update. It is important that refugee MG programs regularly review and train staff on the MG guidelines as ORR will continue to ramp up it site monitoring of this program throughout FY17.

The FY17 MG Program Guidelines with highlighted changes can be accessed here..

Higher is here to support you. If you need additional support related to MG, please let us know at information@higheradvantage.org.

Happy International Day of Peace

susdev8Pause for a few minutes today to contemplate what peace means for all people on the United Nations International Day of Peace.

“Let us all work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Every single one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is a building block in the global architecture of peace.  Learn more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including number 8, which is focused on employment.  If you’d rather learn by rap, spend two minutes listening to this video.

4 Employment Considerations for LGBT Refugees

lgbtqJune is LGBT Awareness Month.  Here’s a recent collection of resources from ORR technical assistance provider, Welcoming America. You can find a recent webinar archive and an excellent PDF compilation of resources that will help you and your agency deliver effective services to this special population of refugees.

Here are four employment specific issues to keep in mind when working with LGBT refugee clients:

1.  New hire paperwork and work authorization verification must use the legal name provided on I-94, EADs or other U.S. government documentation.  That might not match the name transgender clients may have chosen for themselves.  Explain this issue clearly to help clients avoid delays in clearance to start a new job.  Also be aware that different names could reveal client information that would be better discussed in a different context with potential employers.

2.  Communication policies with employers: Decide in advance how and in what circumstances your agency might communication with employers around gender identity.  Client confidentiality is important.  In some instances, transgender clients might present special circumstances for employers around staff locker rooms and restroom facilities. You might consider discussing it with trusted employer partners.  Definitely help clients understand the issues and listen to how they prefer to handle the situation whenever possible.

3.  Collaboration with case managers is  even more important for successful employment services for this population.  LGBT clients are very likely to have experienced persecution and prejudice in their home countries.  That could have consequences for the kinds of jobs and work environments in which they will find success.  Avoid wasting your time on inappropriate placements through close collaboration with case managers.

4.  Flexible solutions for group situations:  Clients might not feel comfortable participating in job readiness classes or other group services with others from their ethnic group.  They might prefer housing or even employment where they will not have to face discrimination from their community. Placing them in employment with others from their country could cause tensions and jeopardize employment or the entire relationship.

 

Good Ideas to Celebrate World Refugee Day 2016

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Celebrating Refugee Day

World Refugee Day (June 20) is less than a month away.  

If you don’t yet have a plan for engaging your community, it’s not too late!

Check out this Higher post for seven ways you can engage employers around World Refugee Day.  And, here are four more creative examples from your peers’ 2015 World Refugee Day celebrations across the country.

Promote World Refugee Day and your communities’ celebrations with these two hashtags:  #WRD2016 and #withrefugees.  To make it even easier, get some quick facts and sample tweets, thanks to Refugee Council USA.

Tell us how you’ll showcase and engage employment partners on World Refugee Day this year at information@higheradvantage.org.

The Best Resource for Work Eligibility Documentation Answers Just Got Even Better!

Essential information for everyone providing refugee employment services from the Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel. (A Higher Video Exclusive)

All refugees are work authorized with a path to citizenship and documentation to prove it. Simple, right? Wrong. Real or perceived problems with refugee eligibility documentation are as diverse as our clients. Delays hurt employer partnerships, makes our jobs harder and can even cause refugees to face hunger or homelessness.

We need a lawyer to answer all our questions in plain English.  DONE!

Here’s a presentation recording that lays out all the information you need to know AND provides answers to very specific questions asked by your peers at Higher’s Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop in Omaha, 11/4-6/2015.

You can also find it on Higher’s website anytime  you need it. And don’t forget to check out OSC’s website for a hotline answered by a real person, free resources for employers and more.