Please Welcome Higher’s New Hire

Finally the day is here! Higher is excited to welcome our new Network Engagement Specialist, Katie Jipson. She has significant experience in refugee employment, including 5 years at Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley in Dayton, Ohio. Katie worked in state employment programs coordinating volunteers, working with refugee youth, and developing employer partnerships.

As part of the Higher team, Katie will focus on our network engagement platforms like the blog, website, and online learning management system.

You can reach Katie at information@higheradvantage.org to request assistance in meeting your challenges or to share successes.

Please join us in welcoming Katie to the Higher team!

WeWork Pledges to Hire Refugees

WeWork is an American company which provides shared workspace, community, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, and existing small and large businesses. Founded in 2010, it is headquartered in New York City with many other locations (here).   On Tuesday November 14, the Washington Post reported that WeWork will hire 1,500 refugees globally over the next 5 years. This could be a great opportunity for refugee clients. Check out the full article here.

 

Introducing a New Higher Peer Advisor: Dan Peterson

Higher recruits a team of refugee employment professionals who serve as advisors to Higher and share their expertise in workforce development. The advisors are drawn from diverse audiences including national resettlement agencies and their affiliate offices, government programs, and others involved in workforce development. They promote our resources within their own social media networks, join Higher staff for trainings across the country, contribute to webinars and other virtual trainings, write guest blogs, and provide their insight and expertise to specific technical assistance requests throughout the year.

Recently, World Relief headquarters nominated Dan Peterson as a Higher Peer Advisor. Please welcome Dan! Don’t hesitate to reach out to him (dpeterson@wr.org).

Dan: Hello Higher community. My name is Dan Peterson and I am an Employment Specialist in Wheaton, Illinois with World Relief DuPage/Aurora. My primary role has been working with new arrivals, but recently I have been working with clients to secure their second jobs and to achieve career advancement opportunities. Before coming to World Relief, I was a graduate of cross-cultural studies from the Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies in Tasmania, Australia.

I am excited for this opportunity to serve as a peer adviser and to learn alongside each one of you. I hope for this to be a collaborative opportunity with the goal of providing excellent employment services to our clients.

A few unrelated personal facts: I love lousy horror movies, I am an avid Yerba Mate tea drinker, and I love pretending to be an avid outdoorsman.

Dan Peterson

Early Employment Specialist, World Relief Dupage / Aurora

dpeterson@wr.org

If you know someone who would make a great Peer Advisor for Higher, please write to us at information@higheradvantage.org.

Higher is Hiring

Are you someone who is extremely passionate about refugee employment? Higher is seeking to fill its Network Engagement Specialist (NES) position. The position is ORR funded through the Higher technical assistance grant.

The NES will develop high quality technical assistance materials on promising practices in refugee employment to be disseminated through multiple channels. This position is a critical role in supporting and fully engaging the nationwide network of resettlement agencies, other refugee serving organizations, and employers.  This includes working on strategies for the initial refugee employment and on longer term economic integration.  The NES will have the opportunity to develop Innovative strategies for refugee employment and self- sufficiency.

The NES will be responsible for all areas of online engagement including the metrics for each platform. The candidate must be strong writer. The position assists the Program Manager of Higher in developing technical assistance priorities based on information gathered during in-person trainings, webinars, TA requests, and other interactions with the Higher network.

To read the full job description and apply please click here. Please share this link with your network.

Higher Job Development Webinar, September 20, 2:00-3:30 PM EST

Higher Job Development Webinar, September 20, 2:00-3:30 PM EST

Leveraging First Placements: How to be Strategic with Entry Level Jobs

Refugees arriving in the U.S. need to begin working as soon as possible. Our job as refugee employment professionals is to make that happen. While a refugee’s first job will rarely be their “dream job”, there are ways to leverage the first placement so that it becomes the first step on a career ladder, rather than a “dead-end job. There are also ways to ensure employers see refugees as employees worthy of long-term investment, rather than short-term labor solutions.

Join Higher’ s Nicole Redford and front-line refugee employment practitioners for a webinar that will present strategies for finding and landing employers who will offer not just a first job but a first step on a career-ladder.  Guest speakers include Hilary Lucas of Catholic Charities of Cleveland and Lindsey Saultz of Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains.

To register please click here.

 

Workforce Collaborative Brings Together Local Service Providers to Enhance Refugee Work Readiness

When looking at ways to enhance your job readiness training or employment placement, has your agency tried looking into existing community organizations doing similar work?

Local collaboration can mean more than working with other refugee agencies. Collaboration and partnership with other nonprofits in your community doing similar work can maximize the benefits of your employment programs. Like using a bank to teach your financial literacy courses. Looking to other nonprofits who are doing job development or job readiness courses is a great way to further develop opportunities for your clients.

This week, guest blogger Elizabeth Ringler shares an example from Pennsylvania.

A workforce collaborative in Pittsburgh, Pa has launched a new initiative to enhance refugee work readiness through targeted training. The collaborative includes the Career Development Center at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, which is a resettlement agency, and the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council.  Together, the two organizations serve large numbers of refugees and immigrants in Allegheny County, Pa. This collaboration was made possible through the All for All Immigrant Workforce Initiative organized by the City of Pittsburgh.

Refugees participating in the program meet twice a week to learn job readiness skills including how to look for a job, resume writing, interview preparation, and networking skills. The program also offers opportunities to enhance participants’ computer literacy and workforce specific English language skills. Additionally, the program offers on-site childcare for participants.

“This program aims to teach immigrants about the American job search process and work culture, and supports each individual in developing a job search strategy that meets their needs and leads to long term career success. By working with regional employers, we hope to showcase the important role and economic value immigrants have in Pittsburgh,” says Career Development Center Director Sarah Welch.

To learn more about the All for All Immigrant Workforce Initiative, contact Iris Valanti, Public Relations Associate, Jewish Family & Children’s Service Email: ivalanti@jfcspgh.org

If your agency does a similar event please write to us at information@higheradvantage.org to share your story.

Farewell post from Daniel Wilkinson

Dear Higher Network,

On August 21st I transitioned out of Higher and into a new role at LIRS, in which I’ll be managing a corporate partnership focused on creating sustainable career opportunities for refugees.

It has been a fantastic 2 years with Higher, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to support you in the critically important work that you do in helping refugees become self-sufficient and pursue their dreams.

While I am excited for my new role and the new opportunities that it will give me to support the career paths and community integration of refugees, I will miss being part of Higher, and wanted leave you with a few parting thoughts:

-Never underestimate the value of connecting and collaborating with your peers. We hear again and again from attendees at our events that while the training we provide is extremely helpful, the most valuable thing people get out of being connected to Higher is the opportunity to connect with peers. This has been true for me too! The opportunity to get to know many of you has added a lot of depth to my expertise in refugee employment. Thank you!

-Don’t let short-term discouragements get you down. It’s easy to be discouraged in the work that we do and wonder if we are really making a difference. Keep in mind though that refugee employment is like gardening- if you keep doing the right things, the garden will eventually grow. So keep showing up, keep providing excellent services for your clients, and I promise you that the harvest will come. It won’t be long before you have some amazing success stories to tell (on the Higher blog of course)!

-There are ALWAYS opportunities! Our work can be a roller-coaster. Funding levels, arrival numbers, refugee populations and the economy will always be changing. I started my career in refugee employment in 2010 during the Great Recession but chose to ignore the bad news on TV and believe that America is in fact “the land of opportunity.” This positive attitude and a commitment to creativity in my approach to finding opportunities for myself and my clients has always served me well. There will always be challenges to overcome. The good news is that we are experts in overcoming challenges. That’s what we help our clients do every day!

So keep your head up, keep that smile on, and keep those business cards in your pocket! The best is yet to come. I believe that!

On a final note, if you have a passion for refugee work, employment services experience, and writing/tech skills, I would really encourage you to apply for my former position. You can find the job description for the Network Engagement Specialist position here.

Thanks again for a great 2 years!

All the best,

Daniel Wilkinson

Understanding a Paycheck-Online Learning with Higher

Looking for a great tool on how to understand a paycheck? Higher has developed the perfect tool for you and your clients. Our eLearning module Understanding Your Paycheck, is available through Higher’s Online Learning Institute.

Here are five reasons to check out this resource, according to your peers:

  1. Less than six minutes to complete the course.

“The module is really well developed and covers all the aspects of the paycheck in a very short duration of the time.”  Bidur Dahal, Education Trainer at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains

  1. A great addition to any job readiness class.

“This module was a great tool. I thought it was very user friendly and clear. We will use this in our first job readiness class…” Lauren Brockett, Director of Employment Services at Friends of Refugees – Cafe Clarkston

  1. Use it for employment orientation.

“It clarifies the paycheck, pay stub and deductions very well. I am really excited about this module and will be very happy to present it to my clients. I will try to make it part of my employment orientation.”  Kawa Hawari, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota

  1. More of a story than a training.

“I thought it was excellent! I definitely see this as a great job readiness workshop resource. We talk to our clients about understanding pay stubs in detail, but I like this module so much because there’s a story to it—it makes it so much more relatable. Looking forward to being able to use this for our clients!”  Tawni Floyd, Employment Manager at World Relief Tri-Cities

  1. More than just the basics.

“The paycheck module it’s great and short, so that will make it easy to show in class with interpreters. I also like the emphasis on respectfully talking to your boss if you think there is a problem with your paycheck. I love these modules.”  Jessica Ploen, Employment Training Specialist at Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska

There are 12 other training modules available on Higher’s Online Learning Institute to help you in your work.  Check them out by signing in or registering as a new user here.

Today is World Refugee Day

Today, June 20th, is World Refugee Day.

On this day we commemorate the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.

Because of your work in refugee resettlement, those few refugees that make a home in the United States have the opportunity to work and learn the skills necessary to make positive contributions in their new communities.

 

Understanding a Paycheck Resource

Understanding Your Paycheck eLearning

Meet Amal, who tells her story to help other refugees thrive in the U.S. workforce.

Looking for a great tool on how to understand a paycheck? Higher has developed the perfect tool for you and your clients. Our eLearning module Understanding Your Paycheck, is available through Higher’s Online Learning Institute.

Here are five reasons to check out this resource, according to your peers:

  1. It takes less than six minutes to complete the course.

“The module is really well developed and covers all the aspects of the paycheck in a very short duration of the time.”  Bidur Dahal, Education Trainer at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains

2. It’s a great addition to any job readiness class.

“This module was a great tool. I thought it was very user friendly and clear. We will use this in our first job readiness class in April.”  Lauren Brockett, Director of Employment Services at Friends of Refugees – Cafe Clarkston

3. Or maybe to employment orientation.

“It clarifies the paycheck, pay stub and deductions very well. I am really excited about this module and will be very happy to present it to my clients. I will try to make it part of my employment orientation.”  Kawa Hawari, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota

4. It feels more like a story than a training.

“I thought it was excellent! I definitely see this as a great job readiness workshop resource. We talk to our clients about understanding pay stubs in detail, but I like this module so much because there’s a story to it—it makes it so much more relatable. Looking forward to being able to use this for our clients! ” Tawni Floyd, Employment Manager at World Relief Tri-Cities

5. It covers more than just the basics.

“I just viewed the paycheck module. It is great! It is short, so that will make it easy to show in class with interpreters. I also like the emphasis on respectfully talking to your boss if you think there is a problem with your paycheck. I love these modules.”  Jessica Ploen, Employment Training Specialist at Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska