Free Resources for Doctors

20060909-121226During the initial months of resettlement, we know it can be difficult to support the long-term career goals of resettled refugees who want to re-enter the medical field as doctors.

Here are two free resources from the Educational Commission for Foreign Graduates that clients can access on their own during and beyond their first few months of resettlement.

Click on the hyperlinks below to explore further.

 

1.  The One Dozen Most Important Things You May Not Have Known, Understood, or Realized about American MedicineThis is a series of modules that offers a quick in the culture of the American healthcare system.  

2.  Tips for Understanding US Medical Jargon — The use of informal language is common in the medical world, and there are a variety of abbreviations, idioms/slang terms, and “medicalese” that American healthcare professionals employ on a regular basis.  Using these abbreviations and terms properly is important to avoid being misinterpreted or appearing insensitive.

Both of these resources crossed my desk through an email from IMPRINT, a coalition of organizations active in the emerging field of immigrant professional integration.  You can sign up for their mailing list here. http://www.imprintproject.org/

 

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Save the Date for an Imprint Webinar

imprintThis webinar offered by Imprint could have been designed especially for us.  I’ve wanted to learn more about the Canadian model for immigrant integration and employment.  There are bound to be lessons and ideas we can integrate into our own work.

In addition, the topic of the webinar – “Employer-Led Councils” – mirrors a trend Higher is seeing across the country.  Collaboration among refugee employment programs around job development that engage – and many times are initiated by – local government or employers.  We just highlighted a great example from World Relief in Seattle, WA and will be highlighting others in the coming year.

SO, save the date (February 20, 2014) and watch Higher’s blog for more information as registration opens in a few weeks.  It would be great to have a few of us involved in the webinar so we could share ideas about how to follow-up.

Stay tuned.

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15 High Quality, Free On-line Courses

elearning graphicOn-line education options are exploding now.  Everyone talks about MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) and other distance learning innovations.  Previous blog posts have outlined strategies for completing on-line courses , tips to help clients utilize 20 free on-line educational resources and a list of 15 high quality free courses offered by name brand Universities.

Now, here is a  list of 15 high quality free courses “that are actually worth your time” according to the author.  The following examples illustrate the most relevant for highly skilled clients to adjust their educations for the US job marketplace, prepare for full-time studies or deepen their understanding of how things work in the US.  (Note the impressive University names that will entice the most exacting client.)

  1. MIT:  Introduction to Microeconomics
  2. Wharton:  Intro to Marketing
  3. Udacity:  How to Build a Startup
  4. Harvard:  Intro to Computer Science
  5. Columbia:  Economics of Money and Banking
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Video Demonstrating an Effective Handshake

Helping hand shakes another in an agreementFirst impressions are so important for our clients, especially in job interviews.  It’s not difficult to demonstrate an effective handshake with a few words.  It can be harder than you think to explain the finer points to someone who wasn’t born into our culture.

Accompanied by a smile and “my name is” in their best English, a confident handshake puts clients well on their way to making a positive first impression.  And, getting it right builds client confidence, an important overall success factor in their job search.

This video demonstrates very specific techniques and goes into an interesting level of detail about the origin of the gesture.

 

 

 

 

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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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Free Photographs to Enhance Employer Communication and Outreach

Photographs are important when you’re putting together employer marketing brochures, success stories, social media posts or other types of communication.

Keep that in mind when you visit employers and clients at their workplaces.  It’s much easier to collect photos in the moment than scrambling at the last minute.  For digital images, a smart phone delivers great quality and can also work for print media if you have a steady hand.

PicMonkey Collage

Remember to ask permission (in advance, if possible).  Be sensitive to cultural norms around photography.  Follow any photo release policy your agency might have.

Higher has found a couple of great free resources for generating images for all kinds of communication purposes and wanted to share them with you.

You have definitely seen examples of the results of using both of these sites – and our own photographs – in Higher social media communications.  The image that accompanies this post is a picmonkey.com collage of free images we’ve created or found on the sites listed in the link.

 

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The Best Resource for Comprehensive Job Development Skills

Job Development Essentials CoverMany social media posts use superlatives that often end up being more hype than substance.  In this case, “best” is a deliberate and valid word choice.  Job Development Essentials:  a guide for job developers is a comprehensive manual for all of the techniques and strategies you need to master.  It really captures the diversity and duality of our roles:

“Whatever the job title – job developer, employment specialist or account exec. – the task of job development involves linking employers with job seekers and job seekers with employers.  Regardless of what they’re called…, all have the same fundamental task:  to find jobs for people who seek them and, in many cases, to help ensure that job seekers remain in the workforce…Certain job developers have the luxury of devoting all of their time to these duties; others juggle a variety of responsibilities.  Acting as the bridge between these two worlds – those of employers and job seekers – is a daunting role…Balancing these competing demands is the art of job development.”

Download this great publication, and companion facilitators guide and trainee workbook here.

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5 Creative Ways to Help Clients Master Job Interview Skills

It’s easy to get bored with a topic you repeat so many times, like teaching newly arriving refugees about interview skills for the U.S. workplace.  However, it is an important topic for every client and there’s always room to improve (this applies to everyone, not just refugees).  Clients get bored with it too.  Here are some ideas you can consider to keep it fresh.

  1. Engage Volunteers:  You might not always be able to spend the time that’s needed on individual interview practice with each client.  Interview practice is a fun and stand-alone task that is perfect for volunteers.
    1. Add Quick Practice Into Job Readiness Class:  As basic interview concepts are being presented, include a few rounds of individual practice.  Have everyone stand up one by one, shake hands with you and introduce themselves.  You can take the same approach to answering and asking common interview questions.  For example, begin every client meeting with a handshake and greeting.
    2. Deepen Relationships with Key Employers:  Offer employer contacts the chance to get more involved.  Schedule a convenient time for employers and clients to conduct a few mock interviews.  Employers often express how much they enjoy these kinds of experiences.  And engaging them more will strengthen the relationship for future hires. Clients will benefit, too!
    3. Assign “Homework” for the Next Scheduled Appointment:  Sometimes clients need more time to think of answers or feel ready to express their thoughts in English.  Give them specific interview questions and encourage them to practice their answers before the next appointment.  This also helps encourage individual responsibility for their own successful job search.
    4. Rethink On-line Screening Questionnaires:  Wait a second – don’t tune out.  Everyone hates them, but screening questionnaires (like at Walmart and Office Depot) can be good sources of questions you can use in interview practice. In fact, they are really the same as an on-line job interview and are becoming increasingly common in today’s job market.   If a client aspires to a customer service job and can’t navigate an online screening questionnaire, they might not be ready for that kind of job.
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Advice from a Career in Workforce Development

Harry Crawford retires as Employment Program Manager at Caritas of Austin today.  In his honor, we are reposting this summary of two pieces of his advice.  Harry Crawford

” I wanted to introduce you to Harry Crawford.  he’s the Employment Program Manager at Caritas of Austin – my boss.  He has more than 25 years of experience in workforce development. Lots of times in meetings with outside agencies, I  have to laugh because everyone ends up taking notes while Harry explains something we all need to understand.  Two pieces of his wisdom are counter-intuitive, but they always guide us through difficult aspects of working with clients, so I wanted to share them with you.

Some Clients Have to Hit the Wall: Sometimes, no mater what you do, clients have a hard time reconciling themselves to taking the first available, entry level job.  Sometimes we call it a survival or starter job.  When we’re feeling stress and worry about their family’s financial stability, Harry reminds us that some clients have to hit the wall before they can internalize the need to start in a job that they may feel is beneath them.  When they run out of options and money, they are forced to accept the realities of US work culture and that’s the best thing for them in the long term.

Finding a Job is a Numbers Game: We emphasize the importance of taking responsibility for their own success from our initial client intakes throughout all of our workshops and one-on-one coaching.  We try not to put more effort into a job search than the clients are giving themselves.  A lot of them get really frustrated by applying for lots of jobs and never even getting a response.  It builds their skills and, eventually, if they apply enough places, someone will call and they’ll find a job. ”

 

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Stressed about ObamaCare (ACA)?

Piggy bank, dollar and stethoscopeWe’ve heard a lot of you express anxiety about what the Affordable Coverage Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, will mean for refugees and how to adjust the information and services you offer accordingly.

Addressing family wellness is a huge part of what case managers do for our clients.  Employment professionals need to be aware of those issues and how to address them as barriers to employment.  Most clients no longer receive intensive post-arrival case management by the time their eight month Medicaid eligibility expires and they are eligible for employer-provided health insurance benefits.

No matter how much you explain and help clients navigate our complex system, it remains bewildering.  Even if ACA offers improved coverage for our clients, learning about it and then helping refugees understand and access those benefits seems overwhelming.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and technical assistance provider RefugeeHealth Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC) have already thought about that.  Resources – including translated materials in several refugee languages – are already available to help you understand and navigate the new system, with more to come.  These great resources will help ease the stress now. We’ll point you to additional resources and provide more information as it becomes available.

Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) provides an overview of ACA, what it means for refugees and links to other related sites.  They also provide a downloadable Fact Sheet that will be useful when advocating for healthcare access rights (i.e. interpretation) with medical service providers or other agencies.

RefugeeHealth Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC) provides a straightforward explanation of ACA and its implications for refugee health care access.  At this site, you can also find downloadable Fact Sheets translated into Arabic, Burmese and Nepali.

Health Insurance Marketplace , the official government site to access ACA benefits, packs alot of information into their site.  The page I found most helpful offers resources in several languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese and Russian. A brief downloadable statement of the right to get information about ACA in your native language includes the 1-800 number to call for language access.  The statement is translated into several languages, including Amharic, Arabic, French, Hindi and Persian.

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