Have a Job Opportunity to Share? Here’s one in Seattle!

Now HiringWorld Relief Seattle is hiring an Employment Specialist.  Seattle!  Chihuly Glass. The Space Needle.  Pike Street Market.  Strong business and community partnerships.  Innovative refugee programs all over the place.  Cool.

This also got us to thinking that there might be more of you out there who have job opportunities at your office that you would like to share.

Send a link for your refugee employment job opening to information@higheradvantage.org and we’ll post them.

Reader Question: How Do You Create Unique Email and Phone Numbers for Each Client…

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Rachel joined CCSWOH in January new to resettlement work. Her job focuses on in-house job readiness classes and in-house short term vocational training

….even if the client isn’t computer literate and doesn’t have a phone?

Rachel Wiers, Employment Specialist at Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio (CCSWOH) in Cincinnati needs a better solution for creating online applications that require a unique email address and phone number. She’s exhausted all of her team’s phone numbers.

The perfect solution is to spend enough time with each client to help them understand why and how they need to establish and monitor an email account. Rachel knows that, but it isn’t practical to make that happen every time, yet. Meanwhile clients need jobs.

I know this is a common problem because I had the same one. Instead of solving it, there’s a trail of blueunicorns@… email addresses on every free email service out there.

I know our network has better solutions than this. Please help Rachel with your advice by commenting on this blog post or by email at information@higheradvantage.org.

 

4 (Free) Productivity Tools for the Busy Job Developer

A guest post you won’t want to miss from Higher Peer Advisor Stephen Johnson

Our work is stressful. When every hour counts, saving a few minutes goes a long way. The number of productivity tools and applications (apps) out there is overwhelming.

How do we find the programs that actually support our work? Luckily, I’ve road-tested a few of them so you don’t have to. Here are my top four picks.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 1.52.46 PM1. Google Voice 

You’re familiar with Google products (Docs, Slides, Calendar). But, have you heard of Google Voice?

With Voice you create a unique phone number for use on most mobile devices. This means you can have two phone numbers on the same phone. You can call or text from each separate number using the Google Voice app.

With this app, you no longer have to carry a separate work phone and still maintain some boundaries with clients and your personal life.

For job development, you can set it to see text and voice messages in your email to speed up your response time when you’re at your desk.

For anyone with an out-of-state area code, you can use a local number to cold call employers. Why not find 202-555-JOBS or the equivalent in your area?

Keep in mind that Voice app is free, but you’ll still pay for calls and data usage on your existing phone plan

2. SlyDial   Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 1.50.58 PM

How many times have you wanted to leave a voicemail for someone without actually having to talk to them? Here you are.

SlyDial is a phone-messaging service that sends you directly to voicemail . And, get this. You can send a recorded message to multiple numbers at one time. For me, this was so valuable for client reminders to attend a hiring event or job club.

3. Wunderlist  Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 1.49.39 PM

There are many task management tools out there. If you’re not using some type of system to keep track of your daily to-do list, you probably should be.

Wunderlist stands out for several reasons. The design and interface are simple, easy –to-use and stress-free. You can collaborate between co-workers to create a common to-do list, and access cloud-synced lists from a desktop, laptop, or mobile device.

The program integrates with email to quickly turn messages and attachments into manageable tasks. Supervisors can easily print task lists to delegate to a volunteer or intern.

4. Humin Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 1.54.51 PM

Ever wanted to track your contacts based on when or where you met them?

Humin organizes all of your contacts retroactively and remembers each addition intuitively. The strongest feature is the dynamic search function that lets you look up a contact based on when and where you first met.

Remember that employer you met at a Chamber of Commerce meeting last year but can’t remember his name? The program uses location service when you first save a contact and, context to anticipate the information you might like to remember down the road.

Humin is part of growing technology trend to develop more intuitive and contextual programs. The learning curve is a bit steeper than the other tools on the list. The more you use it, the more powerful it can be.

Editors note:  Technology moves fast.  Humin was  just acquired by Tinder.  Not sure what that means, but for now, their website is down.

stephen johnsonStephen Johnson just left his job as Early Employment Specialist at IRIS- Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services in New Haven, Connecticut. He has 7 years of experience working with refugee communities.  He’s helped our national network in many ways as a member of Higher’s Peer Advisors Network. Bon voyage, Stephen, and thanks from all of us.  

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.

Working with Congolese Clients – Video

We’re sharing this video with your mainstream workforce peers today, and we thought you might like to see it too!  Thank you, James Kalunga, for sharing your expertise and client-centered approach with us.

Simple Strategies to Address Common Barriers, Part 4

digital literacy 1At a recent Maryland-wide workshop which focused on refugee workforce development, Higher had participants do a brainstorming activity, in which groups worked together to list common barriers refugees face to employment as well as possible solutions.

These types of activities inevitably generate a “wish list” of solutions which are great ideas but not always in our power to implement quickly (e.g. adding staff members, ESL at work sites, home-based self-employment for refugee women).

While there are certainly times to pursue those big ideas, perhaps the best thing about exercises like this is that they allow groups to identify simpler solutions that can be implemented immediately.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share some of these insights from your Maryland peers, focusing on simple and practical strategies that are relatively easy to implement! So far, we’ve focused on tips for overcoming Limited English Proficiency (LEP) challengestips for overcoming transportation challenges and tips for overcoming childcare challenges. This week we’ll share a few tips on overcoming the barrier of Computer Access/Digital Literacy.

Tips for Overcoming Computer Access/Digital Literacy Challenges:

  1. Connect clients to local computer labs and/or digital literacy training opportunities. Suggested Resource: The Literacy Directory lists free resources to help adult students reach life goals in areas such as improving reading, math, and science skills, learning English, building job and job search skills, becoming a U.S. citizen, and finding adult education, child, family, and digital literacy programs.
  2. Help clients access low-cost computers. Suggested Resource: EveryoneON is a national nonprofit working to eliminate the digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet service and computers, and free digital literacy courses accessible to all unconnected Americans. A true digital literacy initiative, they aim to leverage the democratizing power of the Internet to provide opportunity to all Americans – regardless of age, race, geography, income, or education level. Let’s help them do this!
  3. Educate clients about affordable internet options. Suggested Resource: ConnectHome is a public-private collaboration to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children who live in HUD-assisted housing. ConnectHome is the next step in President Obama’s continued efforts to bring affordable broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and electronic devices to all Americans.
  4. Utilize interns and/or volunteers to help clients improve their computer skills. Suggested Resource: DigitalLearn.org is a collection of self-directed tutorials for end-users to increase their digital literacy, and a community of practice for digital literacy trainers to share resources, tools and best practices.
  5. Encourage your clients to work with you on this challenge, asking them to network within their community to explore solutions.

Stay tuned for more tips from MD refugee employment programs and stakeholders. The final part in this series will address unrealistic client expectations.

Do you recommend any additional digital literacy resources? Feel free to participate in the conversation by leaving a comment below or sending us an email at information@higheradvantage.org.

Friday Feature: Free Download of New Music

NPR SXSW Download

Photo credit: Phiseksit

Another post honoring our social worker colleagues during Social Work Month.

Music.  Listen at your desk to block out distractions and improve concentration. Enjoy it as a form of self-care and stress management. Appreciate that every culture in our world uses it to inspire, comfort and entertain. It’s a powerful connector.

However music resonates for you, check out 100 free downloads of songs heard last week at SXSW via NPR. Accept it as a token of appreciation for the work you do every day from Higher.

 

 

How Self Disclosure Can Boost Client Outcomes

Throwback Thursday: a classic Higher blog post that covers the fundamentals of our work.

March is Social Work Month. The principles, techniques and philosophy behind human services deepen the impact of our work on refugee self sufficiency.

If you’re lucky enough to have a professionally trained social worker on your team, you already know about this phenomenal resource. If you don’t, enjoy our multi-post tribute to the expertise our social worker colleagues bring to our work.

Self Disclosure: What, When and How?

 

New to Refugee Employment? (Or Not.) Peer Support is Important.

Ever feel like noone gets what you do?  Wish you could hear from someone else doing this work?  Take two minutes to give yourself a quick dose of peer support.

Laura Pugliano, Lutheran Family Services in Lancaster, PA talks about her first year in refugee employment.  You’ll appreciate how much Laura’s experience captures the diversity, pace and sastifaction in what we all do.

7 Tips for New Supervisors

On-goScreen Shot 2016-03-20 at 6.23.26 PMing changes and growth in U.S. refugee resettlement makes effective supervision even more important.  Anticipated increases in Matching Grant slots and the annual arrival ceiling seem likely to create opportunities for career advancement.

A recent article from Boyer Management Group offers 7 basics to keep in mind if you are – or hope to become – a supervisor.  They are equally helpful to know for those who receive supervision.

One of the most helpful aspects of the article is a focus on supervisors promoted from within the team they will be managing.

Here are key takeaways from the article:

Trust is important and it goes both ways.  Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 6.24.11 PM

Your staff won’t trust you if you don’t trust them. Your former colleagues are also learning how you fit into a new role on the team. Create a safe space for everyone to develop mutual confidence and respect.

Don’t assume you know all the answers because you did your former job well.  

Listen to your team.  Ask them for input. Don’t expect everyone to do exactly the same things you did.  Don’t start by declaring what you will change before gathering ideas and information.

Here’s additional advice for new supervisors from 120 of your peers so you have even more expert input to consider.

Establish clear objectives and expectations and avoid micro-management.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 6.24.47 PMProvide clear objectives and expectations. Develop them with team input. Then, empower your staff to implement their part of  your work.

This doesn’t mean that you stop paying attention. It does mean that you let go of some of the details. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review provides simple, detailed descriptions of micro-management.

Footnote: The three images in this post are from Dilbert, an American comic strip by Scott Adams. The strip is known for its satirical office humor about a white-collar, micromanaged office.