Driving in the United States: A Resource from the Refugee Center Online

Every state across the US requires you to get a driver’s license if you want to get behind the wheel of a car.

It is not uncommon for Americans to drive more than an hour each way to work, and 77 percent of Americans drive alone to their jobs, while an additional 11 percent carpool.

Driving may be a mode of transportation to work for some of your clients.  Thus, educating refugees about the local licensing process is very important and should be included in Cultural Orientation and Job Readiness Courses.

Clients need to know and understand the licensing rules, before beginning the process to legally drive. To help clients understand the intricacies of driving in America, The Refugee Center Online has put together How to Get a Driver’s License: Translated Driver’s Handbooks in over 20 languages.

In the United States, the issuance of licenses is the authority of individual states (including Washington, D.C. and all territories). Drivers are normally required to obtain a license from their state of residence, and all states recognize each other’s licenses for temporary visitors.

Any questions about driving should be directed to state DMV offices or local police.  If you have any additional resources you would like to share please contact us at information@higheradvantage.org.

Don’t forget to buckle up!

Enhancing Employment Readiness Training through Group Games and Activities

Source: http://www.teachhub.com

For people who are visual, hands-on learners, valuable skills can be taught through professionally styled games and activities.

Whether the “student” employee is a young adult or someone who has been in the workforce for some time, light-hearted approaches to learning can be fun and effective.

Just be careful that your activities don’t come across as too “childish”.

Avoid anything that involves dancing, extreme physical activity or runs the risk of making the participant look or feel foolish or unprofessional.

Here are two activities that you may want to try:

1. Communication Skills Building: Match job training participants in pairs and seat them in chairs facing each other. Then, direct participants to interview one another. Give each person a question-and-answer sheet that includes questions like, “What was the proudest moment of your life, and why?” and, “Who are your heroes, and why?” Instruct the participants to individually stand and describe the other person based on the interview. This activity promotes interpersonal communication skills and builds closeness among participants.

2. Building Confidence in the Workplace: Pair up trainees and assign one person to be the customer and the other to be the employee. Give the customer a card that describes a common customer complaint, such as a defective product, a late delivery or a rude salesperson. Instruct the customer to act out her role and the employee to work toward a solution using your company’s best practices for service excellence (try to come up with a few fake companies and what their best practices would be).

Once the role-playing is complete, critique the exercise and invite other participants to chime in with their thoughts on approach and technique. This activity is great to help clients understand how to deal with rude customers and how to address customers in a friendly, professional manner. This activity emphasizes the important role of a positive attitude not just in the interview process but as part of the everyday work environment. This activity will help clients develop confidence about how they are expected to interact in the workplace and learn additional job requirements that may not always be described in the hiring or orientation process.

An eLearning Resource: Interview Behavior Videos

Ever wanted to be able to show clients what a bad interview looks like? Well you are in luck, check out Higher’s Online Learning Institute. You can access the complete module right now with your username and password.  If you aren’t already taking advantage of our 13 eLearning courses, sign up here for instant access to these videos and the other eLearning courses.

Here are 4 things to know about this exciting new resource:

  1. There are two short videos with examples of good and bad interview behaviors.
  2. You can also get transcripts and suggestions for using the module with clients in the companion resource section.
  3. More than 20 resettlement programs across the country are using our eLearning courses in their job readiness activities.
  4.  The job seekers in the videos are refugees. Thanks to them and to African Community Center (ACC), Denver, CO for helping out.

Here’s a sneak peek at Interview Behavior Videos. 

Email Higher at information@higheradvantage.org to let us know what you think, how you’re using our latest eLearning resource and what else would be helpful.

A More Interactive Approach for Job Readiness Class

The infographic below contains several tips when designing your job club curriculum. Best courses for refugee learners should not only include more interactivity, but aim for greater retention.  The current best practice is to introduce new material in 20 minute chunks. This does not mean job readiness classes need to be short, rather the lesson should be designed to reinforce those main ideas and core concepts.

For example, when teaching workers’ rights, you teach the right to a work place free from discrimination. Give real life examples of what discrimination looks like and share a story of a client who experienced discrimination. Then ask the group if they have ever experienced discrimination.

To give another example, when preparing clients for job interviews, you could do a lesson on hygiene and appropriate clothes to wear and then give clients 5 minutes to pick out a perfect interview outfit from a pile of clothes.

What have you found works best for your clients? Tell us your job readiness success stories or contact us for help on how to design a great curriculum. Email us at information@higheradvantage.org.

 

 

Free Professional Development Opportunity Next Tuesday, 11/29

wes-webinar

Who: The WES Global Talent Bridge Team

What: Webinar – What Employers Want in a Job Applicant

When: Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST

Why: You’ll hear from employers who will:

  • Share the do’s and don’ts of applying for a job
  • Provide advice on structuring your resume
  • Highlight useful interview skills
  • Offer ways to grow at your current job

How: Register by clicking here

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

Guiding and Facilitating Learning – Infographic

All of us are responsible for guiding and facilitating learning in some way.  You might be teaching soft skills to clients in the job readiness classroom or showing the new intern how to book a conference room.  Although this infographic contains tips and suggestions for use in the classroom setting, the first few lines can apply to the informal learning that happens between coworkers every day.

event5

Source: https://anethicalisland.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/events-in-instruction-event-5/

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.

Interactive Employment Resource Collection

This resource collection is long overdue. To access resources about any of the topics in the below graphic, simply click on the topic!

Please let us know if you have any youth resources to add so we can keep building the collection!

Simple Strategies to Address Common Barriers, Part 3

esl class 2At 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 transportation challenges and tips for overcoming childcare challenges. This week we’ll share a few tips on overcoming the barrier of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) challenges.

Tips for Overcoming LEP Challenges:

  • Provide flexible ESL solutions: hold ESL classes at locations that are convenient for clients and/or offer classes at different times of the day so more clients can attend.
  • Explore alternatives to traditional ESL class: have clients speak English at home, watch TV, listen to the radio or practice with a friend once a week.
  • Develop relationships with ESL providers that offer classes at churches, libraries or community centers.
  • Leverage technology: try free education apps like duolingo to encourage language acquisition for 21st century learners.
  • Encourage your clients to work with you on this challenge, asking them to network within their community to explore solutions.

For more on LEP solutions, click here.

Stay tuned for more tips from MD refugee employment programs and stakeholders. Future barriers will include limited computer skills and unrealistic client expectations.

Feel free to participate in the conversation by leaving a comment below or sending us an email at information@higheradvantage.org.