Search Results for: mentor

Free Employment Mentoring How To Guide

Shafiq 2If you are a regular reader of Higher’s blog, you may recall some stories from Lancaster, PA about an employment mentoring pilot project begun in 2013. As a program of LIRS, Higher has been involved in the pilot project that now includes two additional pilot sites in Atlanta, GA and Omaha, NE.

Throughout the initial pilot phase, I have watched each site adapt the model for their local environment and incorporate mentoring as a career advancement tool for refugees without a big burden on staff time or resources. The results have been meaningful for both mentees and mentors. Click here to read what Shafiqullah Jahish and Dan McCaster (pictured at right) learned and achieved from their mentoring experience in Omaha, NE.  

Together with all three implementing sites, LIRS has developed a how to guide for adopting a similar “Careers and Cnnections Employment Mentoring Project”.  Download a free copy of the guide from LIRS website.

Rebecca Armstrong Head ShotRebecca Armstrong has been a part of refugee employment technical assistance for more than 11 years, most recently as Director of Higher. Many of you have worked with Becca and will join Higher in wishing her well as she leaves Higher and LIRS to become the Executive Director of a civil rights and arts empowerment organization based in Selma, Alabama. Higher/LIRS employment mentoring project is the most recent practical refugee employment resource we will all continue to use going forward. Thanks, Becca, we’ll miss you. 

Skill Training, Mentors and Community College Partnership

Photo Credit:  TaRhonda Thomas
Photo Credit: TaRhonda Thomas
a success story from the African Community Center’s Commercial Food and Safety Service Training Program.

Higher featured this innovative Denver, CO program in a 2013 postClick here for an update and get some great ideas you can consider in your own programs, including:

  • how mentors can help clients learn more, explore career paths and deepen community connections, and
  • the value in forging relationships with community colleges.

Think food service means dead end dishwasher jobs?  Reconsider with this story, and a previous Higher blog post with suprising industry stats about upward mobility in the restaurant field.

Mentoring Resources

Mentoring Resources – A collection of resources devoted to mentoring programs. If you have resources or information that you would like to share, please contact us at information@higheradvantage.org.

Study Confirms Mentoring Works

Mentoring Study HighlightAcross the country, mentoring programs are an increasingly common strategy to boost employment outcome and client success.  Some programs target new arrivals.  Others focus on clients ready for job upgrades or professional recertification.

A 2013 Canadian study of a mentoring initiative targeting newly arrived immigrant professionals offers evidence to support what we already believe.  Mentoring really works.  In the 12 months of the study, participants working in their professional fields went from 17% to 71%.  Incomes, employment and full-time employment also rose significantly.   Download the full report on our website.

ALLIES (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies) is a project jointly funded by Maytree and The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. ALLIES supports local efforts in Canadian cities to successfully adapt and implement programs that further the suitable employment of skilled immigrants

Higher will continue to follow the progress of a very successful employment mentoring pilot project at Lutheran Refugee Services of Lancaster, PA, which will be replicated in a few more sites over the next year.  The current issue of Higher’s newsletter, just released yesterday, highlights another great example from USCCB Affiliate Catholic Charities Maine in Portland.  If you missed it, click here for a link to the article.

 

 

 

 

Update: Lancaster, PA’s Employment Mentoring Pilot Project

A lot has been happening in the Lancaster, PA employment mentoring pilot program we’ve highlighted in previous posts.  Eight months into an initial one year pilot, the third group of 12 more refugee-mentor pairs is being finalized to reach a total of 30 teams.  Here are a few stories and valuable lessons learned through our ongoing partnership with Lutheran Refugee Services (LRS) of Lancaster, PA and LIRS.  The project seeks to deepen refugee social integration through employment-focused mentoring.Mentoring snip one

Job shadowing, community college orientations and informational interviews are just a few of the opportunities being generated through the program.

One mentee has been preapproved for a home loan and is going through the learning experience of buying a home with the help of his mentor.

All of the refugees participMentoring Khem and Alating in the program are gaining community ties, opportunities to practice English and confidence in their ability to engage and interact with their new communities.

For example, Khem and Pramila Subedi and Khem’s mentor Al Duncan, CEO of Thomas E. Strauss, Inc. attended a recent LIRS Board Meeting to talk about their mentoring experience.  (See their photo at left.)  Khem says that through his participation in the mentor program, “I am getting wider every day.”  Al feels that mentoring is a common and valuable experience in our country and it’s not so different to involve refugees.

It’s hard to capture in writing the energy and motivation present in the room whenever the teams get together, as they did this past Saturday to discuss an important lesson learmentor snip twoned so far.

The initial thinking was that each pair would follow a very unique path based on the opportunities available to work towards achieving specific career goals.  Computer skills, advanced ESL and the ability to access additional education and training suggest the need for some common resources and steps to achieving any individual career goals.

At Saturday’s meeting, mentor outreach consultant Ellen Willenbecher provided all of the mentors with a packet listing resources already available in the community.  That helps create space to leverage more

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of the unique skills mentors can offer.  For example, mentor Angela Harnish, an ESL instructor at the University of Delaware, offered a workshop on easy strategies for working on accent reduction.  The room was packed with refugee mentees and their friends and families (See photo at left.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Group of Mentors and Refugees Starts to Work in Lancaster, PA

Lancaster Mentoring Collage resize

Higher is partnering with Lutheran Refugee Service in Lancaster, PA in an exciting pilot project that will  help a growing number of refugees pursue their career goals, find a job upgrade and expand their community networks.  These pictures are from last week’s second cohort kick-off and orientation that started an additional seven partnerships off to a great start.  Read more about this innovative partnership in a recent Lancaster Online article, which motivated all seven of the mentors in the second group to get involved.

Khem Subedi, a Bhutanese refugee who was featured in the article, is now joined by his wife Pramila (in the beautiful green sari in the collage).  Follow the progress of Khem, Pramila, their mentors and the rest of the group by subscribing to Higher’s blog.   We’ll also be sharing what we learn so that others can help refugees deepen their community connections and professional success through mentoring.

WIOA Youth Program Updates and Resources

The implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) creates several ways for refugee clients to access the mainstream workforce system and offers young adults in particular some valuable resources. (If you are new to the WIOA program, check out this previous Higher blog for 5 easy first steps to connect with WIOA opportunities.)

The Youth Services Team within the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration recently launched “Our Journey Together: The WIOA Youth Program Technical Assistance (TA) Series” with four webinars in October. Whether you are new to the world of WIOA or consistently refer clients for WIOA services, here are some updates and resources shared in the webinar series worth knowing.

Resources

  • The WIOA Youth Program Fact Sheet gives an overview of available services and outlines eligibility requirements, which you may find helpful in making appropriate referrals to your local American Job Center.
  • The WIOA Youth Program Element Resources web-page covers 14 key topics related to youth education and employment, such as Paid and Unpaid Work Experience, Occupational Skills Training, and Leadership Development Opportunities. You can access a wide range of topic-specific resources from here, such as links to workforce training materials, toolkits, and webinars.

Focus on Out-of-School Youth

There has been a shift toward primarily serving out-of-school youth (OSY) with the passage of WIOA. To review out-of-school eligibility requirements, you can watch this brief 5-minute video presentation.

What’s Ahead

Stay tuned for upcoming WIOA Youth Program TA resources relevant to your work with refugee youth employment, including topics such as: Job Corps, Mentoring, Financial Literacy, Trauma-Informed Care, Summer Employment, Career Pathways, Entrepreneurship, and Apprenticeship. Enroll in the Workforce GPS system here to receive notifications about future webinars and resources.

Written by Carrie Thiele.

 

Support for Refugee and Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley

Immigrants are nearly twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as native-born U.S. citizens[1]. A community initiative in Silicon Valley is now engaging the immigrant and refugee entrepreneurial spirit through a program focused on supporting potential new business founders.

The Pars Equality Center created the Pars Entrepreneurship Program as a response to a forum that it held; where newly-arrived refugees were invited to hear the stories of successful Iranian-Americans. Participants began asking for more tools, mentors, and practical advice on starting businesses.

Just a couple of years after it started, the Pars Entrepreneurship Program has already become wildly popular, shared Ellie Derakhshesh-Clelland, the Senior Director of Social Services at the Pars Equality Center. Shortly after creating an Entrepreneurship Program page on Facebook, the page had more than 3,000 followers. “That by itself is an indication of what a huge need there is for a program like this,” said Ellie.

“We sat down and brainstormed with aspiring entrepreneurs for about three months to find out what their needs were,” said Ellie.

The outcome is that Pars Equality Center now hosts bi-weekly meetings featuring experts and business founders who lead roundtable discussions about particular entrepreneurship topics. Topics range from how to incorporate a company to sales planning and fundraising. The group is currently at capacity, with some 50 refugees and immigrants who have been in the U.S. for 3 – 7 years in regular attendance. In addition, a group of mentors is available for individual questions outside of the larger group meetings. Pars Equality Center staff have been successful in finding subject experts and mentors through their personal networks and LinkedIn searches.

Although the group is diverse in age and professional background, one commonality is that “they all have an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Ellie. “They came to Silicon Valley with the hope of starting their own company.”

Twelve entrepreneurial initiatives, all tech-based, have blossomed since the program began. Participants practiced describing their business concepts at a recent Pitch Day event, where investors and advisors were invited to provide feedback. From there, eight participants were selected to take part in a meeting with a capital venture firm and three vendors. Ellie said that although investors expected young refugees and immigrants would need a lot of guidance, they were “in awe of their talent” and also learned new ideas from the entrepreneurs.

The Pars Equality Center is a community-based social and legal organization that focuses on integration of Iranian-Americans, immigrants and refugees.

Written by Carrie Thiele.

[1] https://hbr.org/2016/10/why-are-immigrants-more-entrepreneurial

Training Shortens Entry Path into U.S. Financial Field

We’ve all learned that having overseas financial services experience doesn’t guarantee quick entry into the U.S. banking industry. Fortunately that traditionally long journey toward entering the U.S. financial sector has been shortened for some refugees, thanks to industry training initiatives.

Pictured is Baktash Muhammadi

Baktash Muhammadi, for example, resettled from Afghanistan to the U.S. in the summer of 2017,  started Goodwill’s BankWork$ financial services training program within three weeks of arrival. Upon completion of the free, eight-week training program, Baktash was quickly employed as a relationship banker at Bank of the West and is on a career path he loves!

BankWork$ provides training for young adults from low income and minority communities to prepare them for jobs as bank tellers, customer service representatives, and personal bankers. Graduates are supported not only in their initial job searches, but receive continued mentoring to help with future job upgrades as well. Last year, BankWork$ placed 75% of its graduates with partner banks, including Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. Click here to see their upcoming class schedule as well as application information. If your city isn’t currently included, check out other Federal Employment Training Program options in your state and stay tuned for future updates from BankWork$ as they continue to add new sites around the country.

Written by guest blogger Carrie Thiele.

Targeted Volunteer Recruitment- for Employment Programs

Guest blog post by Laura Griffin, Coordinator for Volunteerism and Mentoring at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Phones ringing constantly? Volunteer applications piling up?

Many offices have seen a massive increase in the number of people reaching out to volunteer.

But is your agency able to find the right volunteers that actually help employment programs? Depending on the needs of your employment team, the right volunteer might mean someone who is available during office hours or people with specific skills and experience that can mentor higher skilled refugees. In order to find the best possible volunteers to support your employment program, you may want to consider targeted volunteer recruitment.

It might sound counter-intuitive, but strategically narrowing your recruitment effort to a small audience of potential volunteers may be more effective than broader outreach. In addition to benefiting your program, people are more likely to say “yes” when asked to volunteer if your request is personalized and specific. If you are recruiting volunteers and trying to leverage their skills strategically you need to learn enough about each applicant to know what motivates them to volunteer, and what makes them especially qualified for the job.

To get started on your targeted recruitment campaign, answer these 4 questions:

 

Question Example 1: Career Mentors Example 2: Teacher
1) What do you need? Civil engineer employment mentor Teacher for 10 AM Job Development Class
2) Who could provide this? Current or retired civil engineers Retired teachers, education grad students, current teachers off during the summer
3) How can we communicate with them? Ask staff & current volunteers if they know any civil engineers they could recruit. Post on job recruitment sites like Indeed.com. Call engineering companies. Call local school administers (Hint: End of the school year is best, right before summer break). Reach out to staff/volunteer personal contacts. Call local grad schools.
4) What would motivate these people to volunteer? Personal experience with career mentors in their own life. A desire to see the results of mentoring in refugee lives. Learning more about the culture of the students they teach, adding cross-cultural skills for their resume

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re on your way to recruiting the right volunteer for the job. Read 8 Ways Volunteers Can Support Refugee Employment for more ideas on volunteer roles.

Have any great experiences to share? Email information@higheradvantage.org.