Free Download of Picture Vocabulary Guides

picture guide snip

Selected images from the Food Service Picture Guide in Arabic. Provided by Caritas of Austin, TX

Blending short term vocational training, job readiness and ESL is a best practice we see across the refugee employment network.

When the trainings also respond to employer needs and engage employers in the design and implementation, they boost both job development success and client self-sufficiency.

Caritas of Austin, TX developed a series of picture vocabulary guides in a number of client languages for use in their short term training programs focused on entry level hotel housekeeping and food service careers.  The guides have been very well received by employers and clients.

  • Clients find them helpful for learning English and communicating with guests.
  • Employers have been able to use them to facilitate supervisory conversations.  They perceive them as a valuable resource provided by a valued partner helping them meet their hiring and employee objectives.

These great picture vocabulary guides are once again available for donwload at Higher’s website.

Click here to find versions in multiple languages.  We hope to make additional language versions available later, so stay tuned.

A recent webinar highlighting Job Readiness Class Models offered several great resources and field experience that will be highlighted in blog posts over the next several days.

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NEW E-Verify Webinars Scheduled

everifyU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices  offer free webinars to provide  basic information, including:
  • Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9
  • E-Verify
  • Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) Further Action Notice
  • Self Check, a Tool for Employees

A previous post announced a few dates, but they were already full when several of you tried to sign up. Now they have scheduled many more dates in Spanish and English.  Click here to see a list on their website and link to registration pages for each. 

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Great ESL Resources from Tacoma Community House

Literate vs illiterate learnersTacoma Community House in Washington State has agreed to share their excellent practical resource for pre-literate adult English learners, called Making it Real:  Teaching Pre-literate Adult Refugee Students.

While it doesn’t focus solely on job readiness, there are many concepts and practical techniques you can easily adapt for your own use.  The important differences between literate and non-literate learners at left is excerpted from the publication.

Tacoma Community House has an entire page full of useful and practical resources.  You can find a complete list at their website.

Last week’s webinar highlight Job Readiness Class Models and Resources offered several great resources and field experience that will be highlighted in blog posts over the next several days.

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3 Monkeys You Should Meet

MonkeyTechnology can help you accomplish even more amidst client meetings, crisis response, paperwork and employer relationshp building.

Three of my favorite – and most useful – websites include monkey in their name.  (When will I ever have a better excuse to post a monkey photo?)

SurveyMonkey enables you to design, distribute, compile and analyze user surveys with a range of question formats and available metrics.  Purpose?  Conduct an employer survey as you look at fine tuning employer services.

PicMonkey generates photo collages with pictures you upload and includes formats specifically for Facebook banners.  Purpose?  Generate combinations of images for employer communications or social media.

Monk-E-Mail lets you generate and send voice messages from the monkey character and voice of your choice with a range of accessories from which to choose.  Purpose?  A little comic relief never hurts, right?



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Great Ideas for Employer Communications

Welcoming America Logo borderWe know our clients have a lot to offer to employers and communities in general.  We also know that we need to highlight their strengths and tell their stories in positive language that speaks to employer needs and concerns.  Easier said than done.

Welcoming America has just produced a great toolkit as part of their Welcoming Refugees project with a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).  It provides practical ways to reframe messages for specific audiences and how to craft success stories.  There’s also lots of inspirational information that will remind you about all of the reasons you can be proud of what you do – even if you’re feeling stressed out about it right now.

Download this excellent new resource today!


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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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05/14 Webinar Explores Programs for Immigrant Nurses, Engineers and Teachers

MPI webinar pic

Photo from Latino Community Credit Union and Migration Policy Institute

It never gets any easier to help highly skilled clients.

There are many challenges along the employment service continuum:

– helping them to develop more realistic expectations;

– finding resources to pursue long term career goals;

–  understanding what kinds of entry level jobs they could so to match their long term goals with the need for a survival or starter job.

Migration Policy Institute (MPI) webinar on Wednesday, May 14 at 4:00 pm EDT will present models in three different States (IL, MA, WA) that are addressing the needs of Highly Skilled Immigrants and Refugees with a special focus on Nurses, Engineers, and Teachers.

Read more details here or go directly to the registration page here.




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Practical Strategy for Working with Clients

Vladimir BessonovVladimir Bessonov with Partners in Careers, Vancouver, WA uses a flexible and effective strategy to help clients learn vocabulary and important work readiness concepts.

He starts with a list of 50 words describing attitudes and characteristics valued by employers.

Vladimir used the example of AMBITION and explained that, due to cultural and historical factors in his country (Russia), to be ambitious is often considered risky and undesirable.  Talking with clients from that culture about how it is seen in the US can create space to talk about career paths and begin to help clients develop long term career plans if they’ve never had a chance to think about that before.

You could also choose a few characteristics – like TIMELY, HELPFUL and HARD WORKING – to help clients describe why they would be the best candidate for the job – a common inteview question.

Vladimir says he also assigns clients with higher levels of English the task of finding definitions for each of the words on the list.  Follow-up on homework assignments is often a great way to evaluate client commitment to their own job search success.

You can download Vladimir’s vocabulary list to use with your clients here.  Spassiba bolshoi, Vladimir.

(Look for a series of posts over the next couple of weeks sharing highlights and key takeaways from Higher’s March 3-4 Employment Workshop in Seattle, Washington.)

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Cross Cultural Competence: Fundamental to Our Work

An iceberg is a common metaphor used in cross-cultural studies. What cultural factors could be “beneath” the behaviors we can observe?

Cross-cultural competence was suggested as a future eLearning training topic at the Seattle workshop.  That’s a great idea to improve our effectiveness with each other and with clients.

Stay tuned for more about this topic in a soon to be released Higher eLearning training on Employability Assessment.

One definition of cross-cultural competence refers to your ability to understand people from different cultures and engage with them effectively.

We all think immediately of how this affects our work with clients. Also think about other cross-cultural interactions you have on a regular basis.  They may include colleagues from a refugee background and even native-born citizen colleagues whose identies may be shaped by different factors than your own.

Meanwhile, be mindful of these three core inter-cultural competencies:

1.  Be aware of how your own culture shapes your behaviors, beliefs and biases

2.  Treat others as THEY would like to be treated (sometimes different than what YOU might like).

3.  Learn about the cultures you encounter in your work and think about how they may be shaping the behaviors you observe and experience.

These 12 strategies could help you to become more effective in your work with clients and colleagues from other cultures.

(Look for a series of posts over the next couple of weeks sharing highlights and key takeaways from Higher’s March 3-4 Employment Workshop in Seattle, Washington.)





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03/14 Webinar Explores Alternative Careers for Immigrant Professionals

Doctor Smiling To CameraFor many reasons (e.g. age, expense, other priorities), clients with professional qualifications and experience in their own countries may choose not to pursue recertification in the US.

That doesn’t mean they can’t put their expertise to use and work in their field.

On Tuesday, March 14, you can attend a webinar offered by Imprint that will help you explore some alternatives and resources to identify concrete options in your community.

Also, read about on-line training from Imprint members Upwardly Global and Welcome Initiative that explore career alternatives for doctors and nurses; dentists and pharmacists in a previous Higher blog post.


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