Consultative Selling Resource Pack

In the past couple years Higher has introduced our network to a job development model known as Consultative Selling. In addition to providing training on Consultative Selling at various Higher training events, we also published a four-part blog series and facilitated a 1-year online Community of Practice (CoP) group focused on adapting this model for refugee employment.

In order to continue helping our network learn and practice this approach to job development, we put together this resource pack, including our intitial Consultative Selling blog series and recordings of all 3 CoP calls.

Consultative Selling Blog Series

Click on the links below to read Higher’s 4-part blog series on the four primary aspects of the Consultative Selling model: Prospecting, Needs Analysis, Selling, and Follow-up:

Illustration by Gary Phelps / EMM Wichita

Part One:Hitting the Target: Prospecting Techniques That Work

Part Two:Understanding Employers’ Needs and Providing Solutions

Part Three:Providing and Selling Workforce Solutions

Part Four:Strengthening Employer Relationships Through Effective Follow-up

2016 Job Development Community of Practice (3 Presentations)

In 2016 Higher facilitated a Community of Practice (CoP) for refugee employment staff who had attended the one day training put on by Allen Anderson at our Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop in November 2015 in Omaha, NE (to hear a little bit from Allen, check out the Innovations and Opportunities panel discussion from our Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop page).

Over time the CoP expanded to include coworkers of the original members, and other refugee employment staff who received Consultative Selling training from Higher at separate events. You can access video recordings of these three online events below:




For more on Consultative Selling, click here.

If you are using this model, we would love to hear about your experience. Please email us at

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.

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.


New Resource for Supervisors

what about us infoLearning from 120 peers was one of the highlights of our Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop. We have been working hard to turn everything we learned into resources you can use.

Download the first of five resource sheets from “speed dating”, where all attendees split into small groups and spent 10 minutes discussing each of five topics.

What About Us captures your solutions for time management, professional development and staff supervision.

We hope that both new and seasoned managers can find something useful in this resource. We were surprised to see that staff actually want more meetings!

Another item that showed up several times in the notes was the desire for professional development. We can help with this. Through Higher’s Online Learning Institute, we offer several free eLearning modules that you can offer to your staff as professional development opportunities.  Consider discussing them in a staff meeting after your team has completed a course.  Employability Assessment or Case Notes are great ones to start.

We have several other resources in the works, so be sure to check back often.  As always, please let us know your ideas for other resources to make your jobs easier.


2015 Picture Gallery: Happy New Year!

Omaha CollageCheck out the refugee employment cartoon from Gary Phelps with EWARM in Wichita, KS.

Insights and Leads from Omaha Employer Panel

Refugee WorkingOne of the highlights of our Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop was the opportunity to hear from a diverse panel of employers, including some who work all over the country.

Each employer representative shared the story of how they began working with refugees, what they appreciate most about working with refugees, and also how they have handled challenges related to culture, language, and literacy. Employers included:

Set aside some time to watch the panel, and add White Lodging, Men’s Wearhouse, and Salon Centric to your employer target list.

  • White Lodgings already partners with refugee employment teams in Indianapolis and Austin.  They also work in the following States:  CO, UT, CA, NE, AZ, TN, VA, FL, OH, IL, MI, KY, IN, TX and WI.  Click here for a list of specific properties and locations.
  • Men’s Wearhouse offers in-house custom tailoring services in all of their retail locations.  They are excited about expanding their Omaha partnership to other locations. That’s a great opportunity to match a marketable skill to a great job across the country.  Click here for a store locator and here for general warehouse and tailoring opportunities.
  • Salon Centric has retail locations all over the country, and has current job openings for warehouse workers in Grand Rapids, MI, Manchester, PA (Harrisburg/Lancaster area), Santa Clarita, CA and Portland, OR.





5 Fundamental Mind Shifts for Refugee Job Development


Innovations from Allen Anderson at Higher’s Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop

“A shift can change a person, a life, the world…or it can simply change the way you move through it.”

This tagline from a Nissan advertising campaign which ran in the early 2000’s challenged consumers to shift the way they thought about the world, and imagine all kinds of new possibilities.

Allen Anderson, international job development expert and President of DTG-EMP, gave a similar challenge at Higher’s Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop. Drawing from his 25+ years of experience with social service employment programs as well as his work to help refugee employment programs in Colorado and Nebraska (See this past Higher post), Allen shared five important shifts that lead to improved employment outcomes:

shift to strategy


From personality to strategy: Social service agencies often rely too heavily on dynamic personalities who seem to have the “magic” touch with employers rather than training a diverse staff around strategies and techniques that work. Personality can make for successful job development, but you can’t always hire for personality. No personality can connect with every employer.

Focusing on proven strategies and building a well-rounded and competent team will prove more sustainable and more successful over time.

shift to share


From placement numbers to market share: Market share is the number of employers in your service area who regularly hire your clients and view you as a reliable source for dependable employees. The shift is to set higher expectations for yourself beyond hitting your numbers.

While you may be able to meet your monthly goals by placing everyone in a few large employers (think housekeeping, warehouse assembly lines, or chicken processing), you risk becoming too dependent on a small number of employers and you will severely limit the options for higher skilled clients.

Shoot to cultivate relationships with 25 employers who regularly hire from you. You’ll hit your numbers and you’ll have a variety of job options for clients of all skill-levels.

shift to employer


From getting jobs for clients to getting employers to hire them: It may seem counter-intuitive to suggest that you think about your clients less, but shifting your focus to the needs of employers in your region rather than the limitations of your clients preferences will go a long way in helping you increase your “market share.”

Taking this approach will open up all kinds of possibilities that you never considered before, and having more job opportunities will actually increase the likelihood that you will be able to connect your clients to jobs they are happy with.

shift to duties


From multiple hats to separation of duties: Employment service providers have diverse responsibilities. Job readiness, job counseling, job development and job placement are all important and require different skill sets. When possible, creating separate space for job development specialization is critical.

Josh Pacheco, Employment Supervisor at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFSRM) in Colorado, says that making this shift – and implementing policies and processes to support it – has been the strongest success factor in their adaptation of this new approach.

shift to tracks


From one size fits all to tracks for different skill levels: Different clients require different strategies. Our network puts a high value on client empowerment, but we aren’t always consistently successful at creating different tracks for higher skilled clients or opportunities for job upgrades.

It’s important to utilize job readiness and job counseling to empower higher skilled clients who may have the skills to place themselves (or at least participate in the process). Employment staff can then dedicate more time to the implementation of strong job development and sales tactics that prove to employers that clients with more significant barriers have the baseline skills necessary to do the job.

Over the course of the next year, Higher will be helping those who attended the optional day at our Annual Refugee Employment Workshop put what they learned to work in their own programs. Together, we will begin implementing, testing and tweaking these strategies. Stay tuned to follow how your peers are adapting these new techniques and how Higher will offer expanded access to what’s working in our network.





Live from Omaha!

Highlights from Day One of Higher’s Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop
photo 2

Here are some statistics from  a packed day learning new sales-based techniques for job development from consultant Allen Anderson and our colleagues from Colorado and Nebraska.

92% of jobs are gotten through trusted referrals or being in the right place at the right time.

Only 8% of jobs are gotten through “competition” (applying along with everyone else.)

Each Job Developer should have strong relationships with at least 25 employers who are repeat hirers.

The majority of attendees at today’s optional session on job development spend less than 25% of their time developing relationships with employers.

120 attendees from 26 states, 50+ cities and 8 national resettlement agency networks are learning together here in Omaha. Follow what we’re all excited  about @higheradvantage!





Look Who’s Coming to Omaha and Check Out the Event Agenda!

Laura and Mukhti
Laura and Mukti, 2014 Annual Refugee Employment Workshop alumni.
Updates about Higher’s Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop in Omaha (11/4-6)

We’re so excited that Laura Smith and Mukti Dahal, Employment Program Specialists with US Together in Columbus, Ohio will be a part of our Refugee Employment Workshop, November 4 -6 in Omaha.

We asked them what’s still having an impact on their work from last year’s workshop in Baltimore and what they’re excited to talk about this year in Omaha.  Here’s what they say:

We both enjoyed the conversations in Baltimore surrounding working with highly skilled refugees, especially in terms of adjusting expectations while on the job hunt. Helping clients understand that there is so much room for growth in entry level positions and reminding them that they aren’t “stuck” in any job are both strategies that we continue to use.

We are most looking forward to discussions surrounding keeping clients involved and motivated while searching for jobs, especially if they are having difficulty finding work.

Higher is  looking forward to seeing old friends again and meeting others in person for the first time.  There’s still time for you to join us.

And, we’ve just published the complete event agenda. You can find it on our home page or click here to download it.


Breaking News about Higher’s Refugee Employment Workshop

sold-outOptional Day (11/4) at capacity.  11/5-6 registration still available.

We were caught by surprise at how quickly attendance at our optional day focused on job development filled up. We have closed registration for this day only.  You can still register to attend the two day Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop on 11/5-6 in Omaha, NE.

The focus of the optional day is on direct selling techniques that have proven effective in the refugee resettlement context as adapted in Colorado and Nebraska.  We will offer an overview of this exciting innovation during the main two day event, so you won’t miss out on the highlights.

If all or part of your work is dedicated to job development and you would like to add your name to the waiting list for the optional third day, please send an email to

We’re finalizing the agenda for the entire event and will let you know when it is available on our website early next week.