Guest Contribution from Catholic Community Services of Salt Lake City

The story that follows highlights the reliable labor pool that Aramark’s Parks and Destinations Division has discovered in job seekers from a refugee background.  RefugeeWorks is proud of the work Catholic Community Services began several years ago that has resulted in a national recruitment strategy for a company with strong values in diversity and corporate responsiblity.  Special thanks to Jason Stout, Job Developer at Catholic Community Services for contributing this story.


Making Our Mark with Aramark
Jason P. Stout
Job Developer at CCS Refugee Resettlement Program of Utah

“The refugee program has been a terrific source of employees and has enhanced our diverse workforce here at Lake Powell as well as at other ARAMARK Parks & Destinations properties.
The individuals from this program have worked in some of our key hospitality positions and several have been commended for a terrific work ethic and positive attitude that is inspirational.” –Donna Gold, Regional Human Resources Director for Aramark

Our initial successes with Aramark were nothing short of serendipitous. At one location, less than a week transpired from the initial phone call to the first day of training some 400 miles away, but the prelude to this success is even more compelling.

Bruno Schwartz, the International Recruiting Manager for The Canyons Resort in Park City (the largest resort in Utah and part of the Aramark family) attended a networking roundtable with the Utah Governor’s International Trade and Diplomacy Office in early 2010. When he mentioned that he was struggling to obtain visas for international applicants (through the J-1 and H2B visa programs), Jennifer Andelin, the International & Immigration Specialist at Congressman Chaffetz’s office and local refugee advocate, suggested he consider the refugee community. Before long, 15 refugees were working as housekeepers at The Canyons and more soon followed.

Meanwhile, in Wahweap, Arizona, Aramark’s Lake Powell Resort was filled to capacity much earlier than usual due to the local filming of a Disney movie. They were in need of over 20 housekeepers, boat maintenance personnel, servers, bussers and other staff. Donna Gold, the Regional Human Resources Director for Aramark, called Bruno Schwartz (a former colleague) and was soon in contact with our job development team at CCS. Our team worked around the clock to identify, prepare, and transport 14 of our own clients to Wahweap in six days. In the following weeks we brought a dozen more clients, including a number from other refugee agencies in Salt Lake City.

We only had two job developers helping at the time, and between the two of us, we spent half a dozen weekends in Lake Powell, dealing with challenges and ensuring a smooth transition. We ensured that an exhaustive checklist was completed before and after relocation, including medical, communication, banking, nutrition, housing, permission from the Office of Refugee Resettlement for long-distance job placement, initial training and paperwork, and local volunteers to teach ESL.

That first season was a success, and in 2011 we were asked to contribute staff at another Aramark location: Mesa Verde, Colorado. The Canyons continues to hire refugees, and we also hope to return to both Lake Powell and Mesa Verde this year. As Aramark expands nationally in their refugee hiring in 2012, we are proud that our successes were an initial impetus in that chain.

As for Lake Powell Resort and Mesa Verde, the only bottleneck this year is finding enough refugees to meet the demand.

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Great Picture Guides Now Available

If you are looking for picture guides for common items used in food-related industries, look no further!  Caritas of Austin is sharing their picture guides with us and they are now posted on the RefugeeWorks website.
They are translated into Arabic, Burmese, Nepali, and Spanish.  And they are simple, clear, and reproducible for free.  Enjoy!
Leave a comment to let us know how you are using the translated guides.
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Foreign-Trained Refugee Professionals Keep Inspiring

A lot of good things are going on in the RefugeeWorks’ Refugee Recertification Program in San Diego.

Issam, one of the original RefugeeWorks engineers was placed by Welcome Bank Center of San Diego (WBC) as a volunteer at the County of San Diego several months ago. Issam was named as the Dept. of Public Works Volunteer of the year, he was awarded this month. Issam has been working to map San Diego County flood plains.

On May 2nd, the WBC will be honoring participants who completed courses last year by awarding Certificates of Completion and State Senator Joel Anderson’s office will be presenting Certificates of Achievement to the students as well. Gail Patterson, the direct of the WBC stated, “Grossmont College and WBC staff are proud of how hard our refugee professionals have worked to achieve- it really is amazing and inspiring.”

In other news: The San Diego Scoop, a local newspaper, ran an article about refugee and immigrant foreign trained professionals in the paper and it was picked up by several of the other local papers in San Diego.


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