Understanding a Paycheck Resource

Understanding Your Paycheck eLearning

Meet Amal, who tells her story to help other refugees thrive in the U.S. workforce.

Looking for a great tool on how to understand a paycheck? Higher has developed the perfect tool for you and your clients. Our eLearning module Understanding Your Paycheck, is available through Higher’s Online Learning Institute.

Here are five reasons to check out this resource, according to your peers:

  1. It takes less than six minutes to complete the course.

“The module is really well developed and covers all the aspects of the paycheck in a very short duration of the time.”  Bidur Dahal, Education Trainer at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains

2. It’s a great addition to any job readiness class.

“This module was a great tool. I thought it was very user friendly and clear. We will use this in our first job readiness class in April.”  Lauren Brockett, Director of Employment Services at Friends of Refugees – Cafe Clarkston

3. Or maybe to employment orientation.

“It clarifies the paycheck, pay stub and deductions very well. I am really excited about this module and will be very happy to present it to my clients. I will try to make it part of my employment orientation.”  Kawa Hawari, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota

4. It feels more like a story than a training.

“I thought it was excellent! I definitely see this as a great job readiness workshop resource. We talk to our clients about understanding pay stubs in detail, but I like this module so much because there’s a story to it—it makes it so much more relatable. Looking forward to being able to use this for our clients! ” Tawni Floyd, Employment Manager at World Relief Tri-Cities

5. It covers more than just the basics.

“I just viewed the paycheck module. It is great! It is short, so that will make it easy to show in class with interpreters. I also like the emphasis on respectfully talking to your boss if you think there is a problem with your paycheck. I love these modules.”  Jessica Ploen, Employment Training Specialist at Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska


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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.

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Simple Strategies to Address Common Barriers, Part 5

Unrealistic ExpectationsAt 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 past several weeks, we’ve been sharing insights from your Maryland peers, focusing on simple and practical strategies that are relatively easy to implement!

So far, we’ve shared tips for overcoming challenges including transportationchildcare, limited English proficiency (LEP), and challenges related to digital literacy/computer access.  Today we’ll wrap up this series and share a few tips on overcoming the barrier of unrealistic client expectations.

Tips for Managing Expectations:

  • Educate yourself on the information clients receive during pre-arrival cultural orientation (CO) so that you can reinforce important points and/or present new information that may not have been covered in the overseas CO (See Adjusting Expectations: The Cultural Orientation Connection, a recent Higher post by Daryl Morrissey, Cultural Orientation Coordinator at LIRS).
  • Collaborate with R&P cultural orientation staff to make sure that messaging around employment is consistent.
  • Consistent messaging with within office among staff- have a team strategy for how you will handle client expectations.
  • Connect with community leaders to encourage consistent messaging within communities.
  • Set expectations early- have honest conversations about appropriate expectations.
  • Highlight the benefits of two-income households and ensure equality of services to both spouses.
  • Walk the line of hopeful realism. Emphasize the importance of taking that initial survival job while also recognizing the skills, experience and education, your clients bring, and laying out a path and timeline for how they can pursue a fulfilling career over time. Develop short, medium, and long term goals with clients.
  • Mobilize mentors (including former refugees) who will help support clients by giving them realistic expectations and a sense of hope.
  • Educate clients about training programs and career development options.

For more on managing expectations see:

Managing Expectations: When Will You Find Me a Job?

Creative, Participatory Employment Plans that Work

Help Highly Skilled Refugees Look Out the Windshield

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

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Your Top 10 Interview Prep Best Practices

10 Interview Preparation Best Practices10 Interview Preparation Best Practices is a visual collection of your tips, tricks, and best practices for providing clients with the skills they need to successfully interview for employment.

This is the second of five resource sheets from speed dating”, where 120 refugee employment service providers at our Second Annual Refugee Employment  split into small groups and spent 10 minutes discussing each of five topics.

Be sure to download the complete set of notes here. There’s so much great information it was hard to know where to start!

Looking for more interview preparation resources? Through Higher’s Online Learning Institute, we offer several free eLearning modules that you and your clients can access. Consider showing one in job readiness class or one-on-one with clients. Interview Behavior Videos or How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions are great resources to check out.

We have several other resources in the works, so be sure to check back often. As always, please let us know your ideas for other resources to make your jobs easier.

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Adjusting Expectations: The Cultural Orientation Connection

Daryl one
A guest post from Daryl Morrissey, LIRS Cultural Orientation Coordinator

The Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) mandates 15 topics for inclusion in pre-arrival CO and by all resettlement agencies upon refugee arrival in their new U.S. communities.

Employment is one of those topics.  PRM breaks those 15 topics into 64 required sub-topics. All of them are outlined in R&P Cooperative Agreements. For employment, there are six:

  1. Early employment and job retention are essential to survival in the U.S., and must be the primary focus for all employable adults (men and women).
  2. A person’s initial job might not be in their chosen profession.
  3. The refugee himself or herself plays a central role in finding employment in the U.S.
  4. A crucial way of finding better paying jobs is learning how to speak English.
  5. There are general characteristics of U.S. professional and work culture to which refugees must adapt in order to be successful in finding and maintaining employment.
  6. Employees have rights as well as responsibilities in the workplace.

Obviously, there is a LOT more that refugees need to learn about the topic of employment. That’s where job readiness classes and one-on-one employment services play a critical role.

Shifting Attitudes

Employment is included in the list of specific CO topics for a reason. As you look at the sub-topics, you’ll see that a number of them have more to do with refugee attitudes toward working than with factual information about how to succeed in the U.S. workforce.

Some attitudes implied in the six sub-topics listed above are:

I must be willing to work; getting a job is my top priority; and even women (my spouse!) will have to work for us to get by in America.

I must take the first job that is offered to me, even if it’s not what I want to do.

I am responsible for finding and keeping a job – others may help, but the primary responsibility is mine.

I must be willing to make the effort to learn English in order to be employable here.

I have to adapt to U.S. workplace culture.

The Employment component of CO training should complement and reinforce the messages they will be hearing from Employment Service Providers. CO helps refugees begin to make the necessary attitude shifts to find jobs and work.

Adjusting Expectations

Overseas CO may be the first time that many refugees are exposed to the concept of early employment and a “starter job”.

It takes time and repetition for refugees to accept some of the important and difficult employment messages, especially during the initial resettlement period when there is so much to learn for new arrivals. Hearing about them one time in a CO class is unlikely to change opinions, but it can be the beginning of a shift along a refugee’s personal attitude continuum. Front line employment staff experience this daily while helping clients to adjust expectations about their first jobs and long-term career goals.

Using repetition is an effective adult learning best practice. Receiving the same message from multiple sources strengthens the impact. I think of exposing refugees in CO class to helpful attitudes regarding working in America as more of an initial inoculation. The ideas might not ‘take’ the first time, but refugee understanding will build with increased exposure in later employment training and real-life experience.

daryl twoDaryl Morrissey, LIRS’ national Cultural Orientation Coordinator, has over 10 years of overseas refugee CO experience on four continents and with multiple refugee populations, including Karen, Chin, Bhutanese, Sudanese, Somali, Eritrean, Iraqi and Syrian.

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Looking for Arabic Language Job Readiness Resources?

Source: http://www.accuform.com/safety-sign/caution-eye-protection-required-wgraphic-MTAA605

Source: www.accuform.com

In case you didn’t know, YOU are our greatest resource! After receiving several requests for Arabic language resources, we put out a call for resources earlier this month, and sure enough, our network responded.

Our friends Ali Abid and Brittani Mcleod from Catholic Community Services of Utah submitted a helpful English/Arabic version of the Walmart job interview, and Carol Tucker from Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska provided us with several other Arabic/English Job Readiness materials.

Visit our Downloadable Resources section to check out these great resources! You may also want to check out a post we published in 2014 that links to picture vocabulary guides in several languages, including Arabic.

As we continue to serve Iraqi refugees and SIV recipients and anticipate increasing numbers of Syrian arrivals, these resources will continue to be a “must have” for your Cultural Orientation and Job Readiness tool box. If you have other Arabic language resources that you would like to share please email us at information@higheradvantage.org.

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Arabic Language Job Readiness Resources

Here is a list of helpful Job Readiness Resources in Arabic that we have collected from our network:

Many thanks to Ali Abid and Brittani Mcleod at Catholic Community Services of Utah and Carol Tucker at Lutheran Family Services, Nebraska. If you have other Arabic language resources that you would like to share please email us at information@higheradvantage.org.

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Gamification Comes to Refugee Resettlement

there-is-appLearning through video games is trendy, hip and at the cutting edge of learning technology.

Now the Cultural Orientation Resource Center (CORR) offers a video game for refugee resettlement.

There’s a Adobe AIR download, a free Google play app and more at a special website.

“Choosing my way” is designed for refugees and other new arrivals, especially those who do not have a chance to attend pre-departure orientation or who want more independent learning opportunities.

Click here to learn all about it.  When you check it out or use it in your work, please share your impressions with Higher.

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Three Ways to Use One Article in Your Work with Highly Skilled Clients

Pro JobThe CEO of JetBlue outlines 10 strategies to make the most out of a first job.  Here are three ways you could use it as a handout in your work with highly-skilled clients around

– Adjusting Expectations

– Job Retention, and

-Interview Skills.

Adjust Expectations:  Any employer with a professional job opening will expect candidates to have the skills and strategies outlined in the article.  In addition, they would need strong enough English comprehension to read and thoroughly understand the article without assistance.

Use this article as a skill test or basis for a homework assignment you can follow-up in your next client appointment.  Experiencing difficulty for themselves will be more effective than hearing you tell a client that their skills aren’t strong enough, yet.

Job Retention:  Help a client see beyond dissatisfaction with their survival or starter job.  Refocus them on advancement strategies or stronger US-style workplace behaviors as outlined in the article.  Those strategies point to yet another good reason why they should keep their first job for at least six months.

Interview Skills:    After clients understand basic interview skills through your existing job readiness classes and one-on-one meetings, provide this article as they continue to prepare on their own time.

Based on the article, you could assign them the task of preparing an answer to an interview question or preparing two good questions they could ask in an inteview.  How well a client is able to do this will be a reality check for them and will help you document their ownership and activity level in their own job search.



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