What is Your Dream Job? Clients Need to Know the Answer to Succeed and Thrive.

Clouds stock imageAt first, it surprised me when clients couldn’t answer this question.  Unfortunately, the reason why makes sense for far too many refugees and migrants.

Many have never had the opportunity to dream.  They’ve likely never been asked the question.  Perhaps they have been led to believe that “their limitations” prevent them from doing anything more.

Knowing the answer to the dream job question is important for developing an appropriate Employment Plan (and for long term client success and fulfillment).  You could adjust this list of 9 questions to help clients begin to discover the answer for themselves.  Here are a couple of examples from the article:

  • If I could choose one friend to trade jobs with, I’d choose ____________, because ____________.
  • The thing I love most about my current job is ____________, because ____________.

Some dream jobs may focus more on lifestyle and family than on US-style career advancement.  Clients who have a specific goal in mind may not be aware of alternative career paths or how to achieve their dream.

No matter their background and level of education, the US job market offers an unmatched variety of job options and paths to career advancement.   All clients need help to expand their knowledge of the available options – and the time, money and prerequisites necessary to achieve them.

With knowledge of their long term career goal and an Employment Plan to map their path to achieving it, you can help clients develop more realistic expectations, find the best entry level job now and make referrals to ESL or other skill development classes.

 

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FREE ESL, GED and Vocational Training in More than 100 Career Fields

Job Corps LogoIf this sounds too good to be true, maybe you haven’t yet discovered Job Corps.  Back in the day, it had a reputation as reform school for juvenile delinquents and high school drop-outs.  That’s outdated information.

Job Corps is a Department of Labor program with a national network of 125 campuses offering career development services to at-risk youth, ages 16 to 24.  A high percentage of our clients fall into this age bracket.  The Bureau of Refugees, Population and Migration (BPRM) estimates that approximately 25% of Congolese arrivals will be in this age range.

Most of our clients will qualify based on income eligibility.  Many crave education and need a range of skills to get an entry level job with career potential.  Job Corps is an unmatched opportunity.

Many locations offer a campus setting where housing, meals, spending money and a range of extra-curricular activities are provided at no cost.  Without the pressure of having to earn enough money to pay rent, clients can focus full time on perfecting their English, getting a GED and earning a certificate in one or more skilled trades.  It’s a great way to learn social skills and meet other young people from different backgrounds, as well.

How to Proceed? 

Identify Job Corps locations in your area here.  The recruiting website has all of the basic information you need to get started, including a contact form that will get a rapid response from a recruiting office in your area.  Other resources include YouTube and Facebook pages.  Much of the recruiting information is available in Spanish.

Higher recommends developing a relationship with the recruiting office and touring the facilities before beginning to publicize the opportunity with clients.  When you have applications, contacts and comprehensive knowledge of the steps involved, you can develop a plan to move forward.  As you learn more about the different career training offered, you’ll be able to screen clients more effectively and help them think about which option might be the best fit for them.

Consider beginning with a small initial group with intermediate English language skills or who share a common language and culture.  This will make it easier to provide initial interpretation and will build in an initial comfort level for the clients, their families and community.  The word will spread and you will soon be fielding a high volume of interest.  It helps to be prepared in advance so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

What’s the Catch?

There are a few issues that require a bit of strategic thinking.  These are definitely manageable and are far outweighed by the benefits.  The enrollment process can take some time.  Some traditional families might need to be provided with information so they can feel comfortable with the decision.  For in-demand career tracks, there can be a several-month wait to enter the program.

Stay Tuned for Additional Help from Higher

Higher is developing a webinar focused on Job Corps.  Watch our blog and website for an announcement early next year.  If you have experience helping clients access this great opportunity, please get in touch as we gather success stories and expertise from within the refugee employment network.

 

 

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Research Study Measures Economic Benefits of Job Upgrades Into Professional Career Tracks

It’s often difficult to help refugees with job upgrades or professional recertification, but the added income for refugees and contribution to the US economy make a  significant difference.  Skilled immigrants increased their average annualized salary by 121% (from an average of $16.967 to $37,490) when they begin working in a better job in their field.  A research study released by Upwardly Global in April of this year, documents and quantifies the economic benefits of employment assistance to help skilled immigrants secure job upgrades related to the careers in which they offer skills and experience.    Look for more resources and examples of job upgrade strategies and successes in professional recertification in the coming months at http://higheradvantage.org.

 

 

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NYTimes Article Provides Valuable Examples and Resource Leads for Physician Clients

A recent New York Times article outlines the barriers refugee and other immigrant physicians face to continue their practice in the US.  Providing a copy of this article to your physician clients will reinforce what you’re telling them, give them useful examples of other physicians in the US and point to two great resources you can help them find:  The Welcome Back Initiative and Upwardly Global.

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Immigrant Professional Recertification Research

A new research study from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) outlines the barriers and identifies possible solutions to the issue of skilled refugee professional recertification.  It is very much in line with our experiences as service providers helping refugee clients understand and address barriers they may face, learn about recertification options and seek pathways to reentering their profession and gaining US work experience, networks and US licensure.

You can find a link to the entire report in our Research and Reports section or by visiting the MPI website.

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No English Needed to be an Entrepreneur

As Higher begins planning for the 2013 fiscal year, I have been thinking a lot about employment programs that strengthen English and increase a refugee’s marketability in the workforce. It has been long understood that in an economy that is producing few jobs, employers have increased flexibility to pick and choose new hires that need to meet a gold standard – long U.S. work histories, willingness to work unconventional hours, and high level English ability. But what about immigrant entrepreneurs? Do they need to meet the same gold standard?

Well, according to a New York Times article I ran across, the answer may in fact be, no. For immigrants coming to the shore of America with little to no English ability, their ethnic diaspora is avenue that can lead to business success.

Among the individuals highlighted in the New York Times article is Felix Sanchez de la Vega Guzman. (Spoiler Alert) Mr. Sanchez turned a street tortilla business into a $19 million food manufacturing empire. His success can be credited to understanding his own ethnic community and how technology could help him market to his ethnic community all across the U.S. and beyond.

Yes, Mr. Sanchez is one of a relatively small number of people who have been able to succeed at this level without learning English, but he is at no means alone in this endeavor. Click here to read more about these immigrant entrepreneurs.

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