10 Reasons to Hire Refugees

kelly postCheck out this great LinkedIn post from our colleague Kelly Rice, Employment Program Manager with International Center of Kentucky.

You can use the same talking points with your employment partners.

Posting it on LinkedIn makes sure that all of the employment partners Kelly’s already connected to are reminded of the win-win they get from working with Kelly.

How many employers are in your LinkedIn contacts?



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Job Development and Two Great Thanksgiving Ideas

tgivingsnip2You may agree that it’s way too early for holiday decorations everywhere.  It’s not too soon to think about the opportunities and complications this season presents for our clients, though.

You could easily modify either of these Thanksgiving celebration ideas to involve refugee employers as a great job development strategy.

Click here and read the post image to see what happens when RefugeeOne in Chicago facilitates the challenge to invite a refugee to share a Thanksgiving meal.

Click here to read about IRC Baltimore’s Thanksgiving meal and see pictures from last year’s event.


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Free I-9 Desktop Widget: A Great Job Development Strategy

i-9 WidgetHere’s another great free resource from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).  You can easily download a free desktop widget that takes you to a fillable I-9 form in one click.

Consider sharing this resource with your small business employment partners, many of whom appreciate options that fill in for corporate support systems or dedicated human resources staff.

It’s a great way to further demonstrate your value.  A brief, professional email with the resource and a couple of quick announcement will remind them that you’re standing by ready to offer them qualified, pre-screened, work authorized candidates and free support services to make their lives easier.

Here’s a link to simple download instructions.  CLICK HERE.   Access a new schedule of OSC webinars about I-9 and eVerify issues here.



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Office of Special Counsel: Help for Employers, Clients and You

everifyDid you know that newly hired clients who have not yet gotten a social security number can still be entered into payroll systems using 000-00-0000 until they receive their numbers?

Neither did I until I heard an Office of Special Counsel (OSC) presentation last week.

Despite previous attendance at OSC webinars and years of helping clients and employers get past documentation issues, I still recall the pain of losing several great job opportunities because employment partners didn’t know how to process new hire paperwork without a valid social security number. Grrr.

Here are three things you can do to be sure you don’t lose some of the job opportunities you work so hard to secure because you don’t know how to help employers and clents navigate eVerify and I-9 documentation.

1.  Attend a free OSC webinar for workers, employers and service providers.  Here’s a link to a current list of OSC webinars .

2.  Check out a previous Higher blog post with more OSC information and resource links.

3.  Consider arranging to view a webinar at your office and invite employers to join you.  They’ll thank you and you’ll deepen your employer connections at the same time.


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4 Basics of Employer Communication

communicationAttainable, affordable, effective materials you can develop now.

It doesn’t take much time or money to communicate with employers. Here are four field-tested basics featured in previous Higher blog posts.

1.  An email signature line with contact information and a tag line.  Read more.

2.  A marketing brochure that speaks to employer concerns, not those of your agency.  Read more.

3.  A blurb on the back of your business card summarizing your services.  Read more.

4.  An option on your automated answering system for employers.  Read more.

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How to Put On A Successful Employer Appreciation Event

IRC Baltimore Spring 2014 Employer Appreciation Luncheon

A packed house: Some of the attendees at IRC Baltimore’s Spring 2014 Employer Appreciation Luncheon.

Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Employment partners are no different.

Employer Appreciation Events are a great way to say thanks. They can also deliver new employer connections and strengthen existing partnerships.

Read tips and results from IRC Baltimore’s fifth annual event held earlier this year. Thanks to Christina Caspersen, Match Grant Employment Specialist, for inviting Higher and sharing her expertise.

“Since the luncheon, we have had meetings with five new employers; had eight job interview, six hires and several job leads we would not have had without connecting with these employers. Bottom line…it IS worth it.”

Employer Knowledge Gives an Edge: Employment partners are among your strongest advocates and advertisements. Asking their advice strengthens the event and demonstrates that your program is customized to meet their needs. “This year’s event was the first to benefit from a newly formed Employer Advisory Board, the first of its kind for IRC US Programs. We want to work more closely with hospitals and assisted care facilities, so a board member suggested inviting someone from the Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare. I didn’t even know that organization existed. Members also suggested how to reach out to communities where our clients live, but where they have been unable to break into the local job market.”

Timing is Critical: Organizing a successful event on top of existing workloads can be daunting if you don’t plan well (and get invites out in a timely manner). Timing is important, too. Keep the audience in mind when picking a date. “Spring was perfect timing. We used to have our event in February. Now, instead of saying, liked your presentation, give me a call in the spring, employers said, great presentation, let’s set up a meeting next week.”

Send Invitations Early and Often: Higher received a postcard invitation in the mail almost two months in advance followed by a personal follow-up email. “This year we heard from a lot of people that they never received our postcard, so we will likely switch to all electronic communication next year. We believe that the best way to reach people is email followed by a personal phone call. We keep an invitation and guest list from each year so we can compare and be sure to invite people again who couldn’t attend the previous year.”

Logistical Details: IRC offered lunch from a local immigrant-owned restaurant and held the event in a meeting room at the public library across the street. They used colorful table cloths from refugee countries of origin and had IRC promotional materials on each table. The atmosphere was welcoming, informal and celebratory.We have a strong support base in our office. Our staff fully support our luncheon (as they know the benefits of the event) and assist with set up, clean up and representing IRC with our guests.”

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Job Development 101: Selling Takes Multiple Contacts

Sales StatsCommunicating with employers – especially initial pitches – can be intimidating.

You worry about getting a negative reaction.  These sales statistics should help you not take this type of rejection personally.

Human nature requires several “touches” or points of contact before a decision can be made.

Here are some points to consider:

1.  Identify “warm” targets – potential employers with some existing connection to our work.  Previous awareness counts for at least one “touch”.

2.  Consider creative ways to make contact.  Gently build their comfort level with making the decision to hire a client.

3.  Don’t give up too soon, but be ready to cut your losses when it becomes clear that an employer just isn’t interested at this time.

4.  Take Higher’s Communicating with Employers:  Initial Contact eLearning training to strengthen your employer communication skills.  Get a free username/password here.

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Job Development, Recruiting and Social Media

social mediaHow do you use Social Media in  your work?

  1. Higher makes our most popular blog posts available on Facebook and LinkedIn.  Join a core group of readers who share them on their own social media sites.
  2. Bonni Cutler (Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego) recommends using LinkedIn to identify and connect with employer decision makers.

According to the HireRight 2014 Annual Employment Screening Benchmarking Report, human resources professionals are incorporating social media into their hiring processes in some of the following ways:

  • Forty one percent of employers utilize social media for recruiting. Twenty percent of respondents use social media for background screening purposes.
  • LinkedIn and Facebook are preferred over Google+ and Twitter by employers currently using social media for background screening.

While social media garners substantial attention for its potential, traditional recruiting methods still reign supreme. Referrals and online job boards—as opposed to recruiting via social media—are still preferred by over 75% of employers.  Read the entire article here.



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Spurs Diversity Boosts Problem-solving, Teamwork and Stats

Spurs Photo

Image from Basket4us.com

The San Antonio Spurs led the NBA in victories this season.

They also have eight countries and a U.S. Territory represented on their roster.  Diversity and its positive effects on problem solving and team-building explains why they posted the best record without a player ranking among the top 10 in points, rebounds or assists, or finishing among the top 10 in MVP voting.

An article from ESPN online provides great examples of how diversity triggers more careful information processing.  The mere presence of diversity in a group creates awkwardness and the need to diffuse this tension leads to better group problem solving.

“For the Spurs, diversity isn’t a problem, it’s the solution.  If no one is in his comfort zone, they’re forced to find one collectively.”  JJ Adande, ESPN.com

Thanks to Harry Brigham, a member of Higher’s Employer Relations Working Group, and our favorite employer for suggesting this post.



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What Does This Data Mean for Employment Programs?


I suspect some of the findings in this report about immigrant economic contributions in Rhode Island are fairly representative across States.

I’m not sure what it suggests for our work.  If someone has ideas, it would be great to hear them.



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