Targeting Growing Industries as a Job Developer

Are you looking to connect with potential employers in fast-growing fields? Here are two online resources to help you make new connections and diversify your pool of job leads.

  1. CareerOneStop lists the 50 fastest-growing industries in the U.S., and that list might spark some ideas for you in looking up industry-specific employers in your area with the Business Finder, which includes contact information for some 12 million businesses. It’s quick and easy to use!
  2. Join LinkedIn “groups” related to the growing field you’d like to explore for potential job openings. Joining a group connects you with numerous employers that you can message personally to set up in-person introductions. Here’s how:
    • Search for industry groups by typing in the name of an employment field the “search” bar at the top left of linkedin.com. A quick search of “healthcare,” for example, returned results such as a “Healthcare Industry Professionals” group with nearly 100,000 members.
    • Click on one of the group names you’re interested in; then click “request to join” on the right side of the page.
    • Once the administrator has approved your request, you can click on the group to access a list of members. Send private messages to set up informational interviews that can help you land a new employer!

What are some other ways you’ve found to successfully diversity your network of employers? Let us know at information@higheradvantage.org

Written by guest blogger Carrie Thiele.

 

When Serving Highly Skilled Refugees, You Don’t Need to Re-invent the Wheel!

Many refugee employment professionals dream about developing customized employment services for clients with higher levels of education and professional experience. Unfortunately, because of limited time and resources, these dreams are rarely realized.

Take heart, my friends! You don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Momentum has been building on the issue of skilled immigrants for the past decade, and some great resources have been developed that you can use, adapt, or refer clients to directly.

Check out the organizations and initiatives below:

Upwardly Global– Upwardly Global (UpGlo) provides customized training and support for skilled immigrants and connects them to employer partners interested in hiring global talent. In addition to its 4 brick and mortar locations (New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Silver Spring, MD) UpGlo offers online training programs for skilled immigrants who live elsewhere in the US. In the past year, Upwardly Global has begun offering refugee-specific services, including an online learning portal, free access to Coursera online college courses, and other tailored trainings and resources.

IMPRINT Project– The IMPRINT Project is a coalition of organizations active in the emerging field of immigrant professional integration. Imprint works closely with business, government, higher education and other partners to raise awareness about the talents and contributions of immigrant professionals. In addition to the services that member organizations provide, IMPRINT provides a wealth of resources on its’ website including publications, program resources, articles and op-eds and webinars. Check out the IMPRINT Project’s recently released interactive map which showcases over 50 programs and services around the country that are designed to help immigrant and refugee professionals.

Global Talent Bridge– An initiative of World Education Services, Global Talent Bridge is dedicated to helping skilled immigrants fully utilize their talents and education in the United States. Global Talent Bridge’s services include support, training, and resources for community organizations, government agencies and employers; direct outreach to skilled immigrants, including seminars and comprehensive online resources; and policy advocacy at the local, state and national level. To get started, check out their Resources for Immigrants page.

Welcome Back Initiative– The Welcome Back Initiative focuses on internationally trained health workers living in the United States. They do this primarily through their network of “Welcome Back Centers” which provide orientation, counseling and support to foreign-trained health workers. Welcome Back Centers currently exist in California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington State, Maryland, New York, Texas, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.

Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education(CCCIE) – In addition to the professional experience and education immigrants bring with them, many also pursue education here in the US. Classes at a community college are often the first step. CCCIE’s mission is to raise awareness of the important role community colleges play in delivering educational opportunities to immigrants and to promote and expand the range and quality of programs and services for immigrant students among community colleges around the country. For an orientation to this organization and what they do, check out their Immigrant Students and Workforce Development page.

In addition to the great resources listed above, don’t forget about mainstream workforce development programs/resources in your region that may provide the extra boost that a skilled immigrant needs to break into a professional job. Contact your local American Job Center to inquire about training opportunities including Apprenticeships, On-the-job Training, and Individual Training Accounts (ITAs).

What are your go-to resources for refugee clients with professional backgrounds? We’d love to highlight your success story. Get in touch at information@higheradvantage.org.

Workforce Resource: Registered Apprenticeship

Source: www.rittal.com

Source: www.rittal.com

Welcome to the fourth post in our series featuring some of the tools, resources and programs available in the mainstream workforce system, shaped by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and delivered through the national network of American Job Centers serving all U.S. job seekers.

It’s a complex, resource-rich system underutilized in refugee employment services. Higher is determined to change that so our clients benefit from new opportunities and employment services.

We’ll do the research you don’t have time for amidst managing client caseloads and employer relationships. You can focus on using highlighted resources to help your clients succeed in the U.S. workforce.

So far we’ve highlighted online tools that you can utilize in your job counseling and job development efforts, as well as On-the-job Training. In this post we’ll talk about the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeships Are Making a Comeback

Source: https://www.dol.gov/featured/apprenticeship/shareables

www.dol.gov/featured/apprenticeship/shareables

When you think of an apprenticeship, you probably think of a unionized position in a skilled trade. That’s because that was what the U.S. Apprenticeship program looked like when it started about 75 years ago.

Today there are more than 400,000 registered apprenticeships in more than 1,000 occupations.

Since 2014, the US has added more than 75,000 new apprenticeships, the largest increase in nearly a decade. Some of these are traditional apprenticeships in the skilled trades, but many are non-traditional apprenticeships in fields including Healthcare, Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Transportation and Logistics and Energy. Learn more about DOL industry priorities here.

(Re)starting a U.S. Career Through Registered Apprenticeship

Registered Apprenticeship combines classroom-based learning with structured on-the-job learning. This federally funded “earn while you learn” training program allows employers to develop a highly qualified workforce and helps apprentices learn a trade while earning a living wage.

A Registered Apprenticeship can last anywhere from 1-6 years (most are 4 year programs) and always leads to a nationally recognized credential that is both portable and scalable.

This means that apprenticeships lead to even more opportunity for additional career advancement for job seekers who might choose to take their skills and credential to a different employer or another State.  They might also decide later to obtain a higher level credential as they advance further in their chosen career.

The Five Components of Registered Apprenticeship

While Registered Apprenticeship can be organized differently and customized to the needs of the employer, there are five components to all Registered Apprenticeship programs:  

A Quick-Start Toolkit: Building Registered Apprenticeship Programs, U.S. Department of Labor / Apprenticeship USA

Source: A Quick-Start Toolkit: Building Registered Apprenticeship Programs, U.S. Department of Labor

Are Registered Apprenticeships a Good Fit for Refugees?

Apprenticeships can be a great fit for refugees, particularly those with higher levels of English coming from more skilled backgrounds—whether that be a professional from a STEM industry or a “blue collar” worker with experience in the skilled trades.

Registered apprenticeships have the potential to function as a bridge that overcomes refugees’ lack of US work experience and helps them obtain a “Made in America” industry credential – all while earning a living wage.

Imagine what a difference it could make, both financially and emotionally, for some of our higher-skilled clients to be putting their skills to use, learning new skills, gaining credentials, and earning $5+ above minimum wage. (Most apprenticeship positions start around $15/hour).

Challenges to Anticipate

We believe this is a great opportunity, but it won’t be easy to access. As we’ve noted in past posts, the mainstream workforce development system is huge and complex. Many who work in this system are unfamiliar with refugees. In addition, apprenticeships work differently in different states and expertise is largely centralized in federal and state government.

It will take a significant amount of staff time to figure out how things work in your state or locality. One way that refugee employment programs have overcome this challenge is to assign a staff member or volunteer to be liaison to key stakeholders in the mainstream system, including American Job Centers (AJC), Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), and state/city workforce offices.

With intentional planning and commitment, we believe it’s worth the time to overcome the challenge of access to mainstream programs like Registered Apprenticeship.

3 Ways to Explore Apprenticeship Opportunities

  1. Get to know you state apprenticeship office and other mainstream workforce development players in your area. Start by finding the office for apprenticeship in your state. This list includes all DOL apprenticeship contacts by state.  If you have a hard time connecting with the apprenticeship office, connect with staff at your local American Job Center, and they may be able to help connect you to the right person or organization to talk to.
  1. Search for local apprenticeship opportunities using the map available on the US Department of Labor’s website. You can also use the Apprenticeship Finder search tool on careeronestop.org. It may be strategic to begin intentional outreach efforts with companies and unions that you know have apprenticeships that could match client skills. Take a look at this list of current Apprenticeship grantees to see where apprenticeships may already be happening in your area.
  1. Talk to the employers that you already work with, and make sure they are aware of the federal Registered Apprenticeship program. Who knows? Maybe one of your employer partners would be interested in creating an Apprenticeship program specifically for refugee-background employees. Share this helpful toolkit and  for employers interested in creating Registered Apprenticeship programs.

Resources for Learning More

For more information and resources on Registered Apprenticeships, visit the ApprenticeshipUSA website.

Be sure to look at the ApprenticeshipUSA toolkit, where you can access eLearning modules on the Registered Apprenticeship program, as well as other information about setting up apprenticeship programs and/or marketing them to employers.

If you have any experience with placing refugees in apprenticeships, please email us at information@higheradvantage.org to share your insights on this career path strategy.

4 Best Practices for Serving Highly Skilled New Arrivals

From the White House National Credential and Skills Institute

These four best practices are 100% achievable in the context of our emphasis on starter jobs and limited resources.  We can all do these things to provide highly skilled professionals with the basic foundation they need to achieve career advancement.

ONEOffer survival jobs with the highest English-speaking potential

Our emphasis on early employment means that most highly skilled professionals need to accept a starter job.  Helping clients develop realistic expectations and a long term career plan is critical. We can also do a better job of identifying initial job options that offer some chance to practice English.

Depending on a client’s current level of English, this might mean busing tables to support English speaking waiters instead of washing dishes with a Spanish speaking crew.  Instead of hotel housekeeping, try to develop custodial jobs at hospitals or nursing homes with more chance to interact with English speaking staff and customers.

Strong employer partners offer other options to strengthen the English-speaking potential of a starter job. Discuss mentoring, lunch time English conversation clubs or on-site language classes. Providing picture vocabulary guides or other bilingual signage can create common ground for managers and team members with different native languages to work on vocabulary and improve communication. Download hotel and food service vocabulary guides in several client languages from Higher’s website.

TWO

Make sure accurate information is available about career advancement options 

Clients need strong and diverse support networks for long term success.  One downside of that is the likelihood of hearing bad advice from a source they trust more than you.  If a well-meaning community leader or ESL teacher doesn’t have complete or accurate information, clients can waste their time and money on the wrong things.

Make sure that accurate information is available through your agency.  Make sure you provide it to key community leaders, anchor relatives and other community stakeholders, as well.

Don’t be afraid to have frank conversations with partner agencies when you become aware that well-meaning staff or volunteers are providing mis-information and conflicting advice.

For new populations especially (like Syrians), holding community forums and information sessions to explain your services and provide information can really help.  Don’t forget to LISTEN to the community perspective, too.  You’ll learn things that will improve your services to that population.

THREEEmpower clients to find creative ways to practice English 

Even when high quality English classes are available, it’s just not always possible for clients to attend despite their strong desire to improve.  There are many creative strategies all clients can use to work on improving their English.

There are all kinds of free resources available for mobile devices.  Check out BUSUU which offers simple, free language lessons available on mobile devices.  Berhanu Dinssa, former Employment Program Manager with Catholic Charities in Arlington, VA, recommends it based on his experience.

Here are more easy ideas that work.  For example, my college Spanish professor, a Cuban refugee, learned by watching cartoons on television. The public library offers free computers and, many times, excellent language learning resources. Sit next to a stranger on the bus to work and try to talk to them in English.

FOURAdd some kind of “Made in America” experience to client resumes

We know how important this is and already have all kinds of strategies to make it happen. Volunteering.  Internships.  A starter job to add U.S. work experience to an impressive career overseas.

Even providing professional references with U.S. contact information can help once clients make it past the interview stage.  You can serve as a professional reference, as can case managers, ESL teachers and volunteers.

Consider listing successful completion of your job readiness class and initial basic ESL as a small initial step toward adding U.S.-based experience to a resume. In time, adding courses from a community college or other recognized institution is even better.

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From the White House podium, it was reaffirming to hear the explicit acknowledgement that it takes time for new immigrants to build a basic stable foundation before they are ready to pursue career advancement. We should also accept the unspoken mandate to be sure we provide as much as we can to give highly skilled professional refugees hope for the future and a strong basic foundation for future career success.

The best practices in this post were presented at the White House National Skills and Credential Institute by Stacey K. Simon, Director of Imprint, an organization that works to help highly skilled refugee and immigrant professionals utilize their training and expertise to its fullest in their new homes in the U.S. Click here if you aren’t already familiar with Imprint’s work and resources.