Higher’s December Webinars

Financial Literacy: How to Teach the Basics

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2:00 – 3:15pm EST

Financial literacy is an essential component of economic self sufficiency. This webinar will explore what topics are most important and will feature resources designed to be used as job readiness activities. Panelists will share financial literacy initiatives and examples of community partnerships that can be replicated. Financial literacy curriculums will be highlighted throughout the training.  

Register here


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 has highlighted mainstream workforce development resources and collaboration case studies on our blog. In this webinar, Higher will continue building our network’s awareness of WIOA-related opportunities by highlighting specific career pathways opportunities within the mainstream workforce system that have potential to help refugees move beyond “survival jobs.” Speakers are still being confirmed, but Higher is hoping that this webinar will feature both government WIOA experts, as well as refugee field staff that have successfully collaborated with the mainstream system.

Register here

5 Takeaways from Higher’s 3rd Annual Refugee Employment Workshop

Denver Skyline by tcmulder www.deviantart.com

Denver Skyline by tcmulder
www.deviantart.com

We just got back from our 3rd Annual Refugee Employment workshop in Denver, CO, where about 150 refugee employment professionals from all over the nation met to learn, network, and share their expertise.

While we were thrilled with the turnout, we know that there are a lot of folks in our network who could not attend.

So in case you missed out this year, here are 5 takeaways that will keep you in the loop:

 

1. Not only is Colorado a beautiful state, but it is leading the way on many fronts when it comes to refugee resettlement. Aside from being early adopters of the Consultative Selling job development model and forging new and creative career pathways models for refugees (see number 3 below), the state has invested in extensive research on what works and what doesn’t in refugee integration. Check out Colorado’s recently published Refugee Integration Survey and Evaluation (RISE) report.

2. Susan Downs-Karkos from Welcoming America participated in our Refugee and Immigrant Economic Integration panel, and talked about how welcoming communities lead to economic prosperity for immigrants and refugees, which in turn leads to thriving communities. Many of the the insights she shared can be found in Welcoming America’s Guide to Immigrant Economic Development, as well as Welcoming America’s recent webinar Creating Inclusive Economies: How to Open Up Opportunities to Refugees.

3. While much work remains to be done in developing career pathways for refugees, there has been significant progress in this area, and there are strong examples around the country of vocational training programs offered by refugee serving organizations or of these organizations partnering with (or securing funding from) the mainstream workforce development system. Here are a few of the programs that were highlighted at this year’s workshop:

  • The Denver-area African Community Center’s  training programs in sewing, food safety, and retail
  • Bankwork$– a free training program for careers in the financial services industry, available to adults from a low-income background and minority communities
  • Colorado Welcome Back Center by Spring Institute helps foreign-trained healthcare professionals reestablish healthcare careers in Colorado.
  • Emily Griffith Technical College’s Transitions Program– “Bridge” training programs designed to transition non-native English speakers into post-secondary career and technical programs .

4. Knotty Tie Co. – One of the employer’s on this year’s employer panel was a company called Knotty Tie Co., whose social mission is to “create dignified employment opportunities for skilled resettled refugees.” The company hires refugees who graduate from the African Community Center’s “We Made This” sewing program, and teaches them to make beautiful, high quality ties and scarves. Pick one up for your next employer meeting!

5. Our network is young, diverse, and innovative. Higher met so many people this past week who are thinking creatively about refugee employment, starting social enterprises, collaborating with mainstream workforce development, and thinking of new and innovative ways to help our clients succeed. We walked away with a long list of things to highlight on the blog in the coming year that will help you in your work, so stay tuned!

If you couldn’t make it this year, we hope that these 5 takeaways made you feel a little more connected. Know that we missed you and want to hear from you.  Let us know what is going on at your office. Tell us about the challenges you are facing. Share your success stories. Put your innovative project on our radar.

You can get in touch with us at information@higheradvantage.org.

How to Gain the Attention of Learners – Video & Infographic

One of today’s sessions in Denver is titled “Job Readiness Activities for Adult Learners“. The session is designed around the LIRS eLearning module, Adult Learning Principles, and focuses on seven steps to ensure learning, beginning with gaining the attention of learners. 

The session will begin with “The Balloon Game”, a fun activity that is easy to connect to the competitive nature of the U.S. job market. The short video below (an excerpt from Adult Learning Principles) explains how to conduct the activity.

 

Next week, we’ll share a list of tools, activities and resources that are effective in job readiness classrooms across the country. In the meantime, the below infographic has tips for gaining the attention of your audience so they are motivated and ready to learn, whatever comes next.

Please contact us for access to Adult Learning Principles in Higher’s Online Learning Institute

gagne1

Friday Feature: A Refugee Family’s First Month in the U.S.

Erika Shultz/Seattle Times

Erika Shultz/Seattle Times

Although our posts typically focus on the employment search of our clients and not on what they experience in their first days or weeks in the U.S., it’s good to keep in mind the extreme adjustment (with all the hopes, fears, and uncertainties) that our clients are going through when we begin working with them.

Take a few minutes this Friday to check out this fantastic multi-media piece from the Seattle Times on the first 30 days of a Bhutanese refugee family in Washington state:

http://projects.seattletimes.com/2016/bhutan-to-tukwila/#/

Last Chance to Register for Higher’s Third Annual Refugee Employment Workshop

Blucifer will greet you at the airport.

Today is the last day to register for the Third Annual Refugee Employment Workshop, November 2 – 4 in Denver. We’re almost sold out, so be sure to register today!

We have a great agenda planned for these few days. There are too many exciting presenters, panels and topics to list.  If you’re curious, check out the draft agenda here.

Besides the amazing content, the agenda is full of peer networking opportunities, as well as a few surprises that you’re going to love.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

See you in Denver!

Friday Feature: Op Ed About the Refugee Experience

gracey-zhang

Art by Gracey Zhang featured in the original NYTimes article

Read a recent New York Times editorial, The Hidden Scars All Refugees Carry, by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Spoken in the powerful voice of one former refugee from Vietnam, the article talks about the lasting changes being a refugee makes on those who experience it. The article isn’t long, but it touches on many important points, including the power of labels and categories on perceptions of oneself and others.

Read more about Nguyen’s recent Pulitzer prize winning novel, The Sympathizer, in a previous Higher post.

(On occasional Fridays, we highlight one entertainment option related to our clients or some aspect of our work to help you celebrate the weekend and possibly recommend to employers and other community supporters in the following week.)

 

Coming to Denver? Please Read this Important Update

Tomorrow (Wednesday, October 5th) is the last day to book rooms at the discounted rate for the SpringHill Suites.  Here are three reasons to book your room today:

1: Free Breakfastdenver-hotel

Yes, there is such a thing as a free breakfast and it’s going to be delicious.

2: Everyone Will Be There

We hope all attendees are able to stay at the same hotel to maximize networking time.

3: We’ll Provide Transportation from the Hotel to the Workshop

As well as Transportation back to the hotel.

If you know that you are going to attend but haven’t made any plans, we encourage you to make your hotel reservation now so that you receive the discounted rate of $159 per night (plus tax).

Friday Feature: What’s Changing in Cuba?

cuba

Photo Credit:  Patrick Oppman in CNN

Read, see and hear what Cuba is like now in a multi-media feature from CNN.  Images, a video and article from Patrick Oppman focus on the effects of increased travel and reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S.

For all of us who resettle Cuban payrolees, we’ve felt the changes in recent and ongoing surges in Cuban arrivals.  Check out previous Higher Friday Features and other posts highlighting ongoing changes affecting Cuban clients.

(On occasional Fridays, we highlight one entertainment option related to our clients or some aspect of our work to help you celebrate the weekend and possibly recommend to employers and other community supporters in the following week.)

Higher Staff Transitions

tucson

Tucson, my new community

I wanted to let you all know that I will be leaving Higher to become the Program Director for Refugee Focus in Tucson, AZ. I’m excited to return to direct services for refugees and leave harsh winters behind. Today is actually my last day on the job. I drive toward Tucson this weekend.

Of course, Higher wouldn’t exist without the guidance and support of ORR and LIRS. Scanning the national landscape to identify the most helpful resources to make your jobs easier and refugee clients more successful has been the best part of the job, for me.

Higher is really by and for you.  That strong peer support is what has made Higher valuable and relevant for almost 20 years.  Thank you all for being so generous with your expertise, success stories and field-tested strategies.

Most of you already know Sarah Vail and Daniel Wilkinson.  If not, you can learn more about them on Higher‘s website. They will provide a seamless transition while LIRS recruits nationally for a replacement Program Manager.

Higher’s Third Annual Refugee Employment Workshop in Denver, 11/2-4, is really taking shape with strong peer leadership and national expertise. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

I’m very appreciative of how much I’ve learned from working with all of you in various ways. My personal email is lorelworknews@gmail.com.  I’m counting on peer support in my new role. You’ll be hearing from me again.

 

5 Reasons Taxes are Awesome

income-taxes-101Ok, that was a stretch – taxes are pretty far from awesome.  That’s why we’re excited to announce that our newest module, Income Taxes 101, is available to support you and your clients this tax season.

Here are five reasons to check out the Income Taxes 101 Module in Higher’s Online Learning Institute:

  1. Clients ask about Taxes.

    During our employment orientation clients are always asking about tax deductions and refund amount details. I like the visual part of it, clients can understand better when photos or clip arts are shown.  -Kawa Hawari, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota 

    Income Taxes 101 covers tax deductions, refunds, and so much more.

  2. It’s a Visual Resource.

    It makes sense, it will be so helpful as a job readiness workshop. It’s really great to show, I believe that clients will have more understanding about income tax and how to file it. – Dajana Doutlik, World Relief Tri-Cities

    Income Taxes 101 was designed as a visual resource to make taxes a little less boring.  The module explains what income tax is, why we pay income taxes, how to file income taxes, and where to get help.

  3. It’s Official.

    I like this new taxes module. It’s clear and understandable, even using the official tax language in easy-to-understand ways. Nice. -Daniel Broucek, Transition Job Coach – Richland County

    Tax terminology is complex, so it was a challenge to simplify the language for this module. Glad we spent a lot of time on this, because the result is an effective job readiness resource that can benefit clients for years to come. 

  4. Client-Friendly and Service Provider-Approved.

    I just completed the Income Taxes 101 module. I thought it had a lot of helpful content in it and I can definitely see it being useful when working with clients. -Kiera McCarthy, Employment Specialist, IRC Baltimore

    Be sure to check out the companion resources for blank tax forms as well as suggestions for using this module with clients.

  5. It’s versatile.

    I just watched the Income Taxes 101 course – it is awesome! I can’t wait to share it with clients. I think it could also be useful for young adults who were born in America but just starting to work. I am pretty sure that I will use it in my ESL class before tax season. I know it will be helpful. Thank you so much for including those websites at the end.  It is really great! –Jessica Ploen, Employment Training Specialist at Lutheran Family Services Nebraska

    Feel free to use this resource with any clients you serve!

    Do you have any resources that you find helpful during tax season?  Please contact us to share what works for you and your clients.  We’ll compile a list of tax resources and share with the network before tax season.