U.S. Employers’ Guide to Hiring Refugees

Higher presents a guest post from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) announcing the release of an employer guide in partnership with the Tent Foundation

LIRS has produced in partnership with the Tent Foundation, the U.S. Employers’ Guide to Hiring Refugees, a manual to assist U.S. businesses that are interested in hiring refugees and have questions about the logistics and practicalities of doing so. The Guide contains essential information on a variety of topics related to refugee recruitment and employment, including:

  • An explanation of who refugees are and how they arrive in the United States
  • The benefits of hiring refugees
  • The logistics of finding and hiring refugees
  • Common barriers – and solutions – to refugees entering and maintaining employment
  • Highlight the organizations that businesses can contact if interested in bringing refugees into the workforce

Leading businesses throughout the United States have already experienced the many benefits of hiring refugees, who are authorized to work immediately upon arrival in the United States – including lower workplace attrition, increased diversity, and a strengthened brand and reputation.

In the coming weeks, the guide will continue to be updated to provide an accurate list of refugee resettlement offices that businesses can contact to connect with refugees interested in immediate employment.

We hope that our national resettlement partners will find the contents of this Guide useful for the employers in their communities who have yet to hire refugees. Sharing this guide with employers in your community could be extremely beneficial to building bridges between local agency offices and surrounding businesses.

 

For more information or clarity, contact employ_refugees@lirs.org. The guide is also available on the Higher website.

What strategies or materials do you use when seeking new employers? Share your plan with us at information@higheradvantage.org!

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High-Paying Jobs Refugees can Access without a Bachelor’s Degree

A common misconception in our field is that higher paying jobs are not available without a Bachelor’s Degree (BA). According to the Good Jobs Project, however, there are 30 million “good jobs” across the United States that pay well and do not require BAs. Knowing where to find these jobs can assist employment staff and refugees in identifying career pathways that do not require expensive four-year degrees.

A “good job” is defined as one “with earnings of at least $35,000 annually for those under age 45 and earnings of at least $45,000 annually for workers age 45 and older.” The 30 million good jobs that don’t require a BA identified by The Good Jobs Project have median annual earnings of $55,000. Even though a BA isn’t needed for these jobs, researchers found the best-paying positions still require some education. Training, such as associate degree programs or trade skill certifications, may be necessary to secure a good job. When discussing career planning with refugees, it is essential for employment staff to explain the difference between BA education requirements and associate or technical education requirements.

The Good Jobs Project, completed by The Georgetown Center and JPMorgan Chase, includes a website and report analyzing the job market across the United States. The narrative report shows what careers are available state-by-state without the need of a BA through analysis of US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

 

State Data Available

 

The report offers state-specific data including pay information, industry changes over time (from 1991 – 2015), jobs by educational attainment, and the top five industries and occupations where non-BA jobs are found. For example, Illinois has a median earning of $58,000 for non-BA workers in 2015. Fifty-six percent of Illinois workers were employed in blue-collar industries versus 44 percent in skilled-services industries. The top five industries in IL where good jobs are available without requiring a BA include:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Transportation and utilities
  3. Construction
  4. Information, financial activities, and real estate
  5. Health services

In addition to the narrative report, the user-friendly website offers data on good jobs that can be filtered by industry, education, occupations, geography, and gender. To learn more about the methodology and resources, click on the main menu drop down feature on the top right hand of their website.

As refugee employment professionals, understanding labor market information like that included in The Good Jobs Project can help you locate career pathways or “good jobs” over lower-paid, survival jobs. For example, a job developer in Illinois might decide, after reviewing the data from the Good Jobs Project that their team has not tapped into the Transportation and utilities field and could be missing out on opportunities for their clients.

For more information on educational requirements for specific sectors and occupations, check out to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. Another tool for researching particular industry sectors is CareerOneStop, where you can find a directory of employers, career guidelines, training programs, and local resources.

 

What are ways that your program provides career advancement opportunities for refugees? Send us your best practices at information@higheradvantage.org!

 

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Welcome to Higher’s New Website

Hello Network,

We are very pleased to announce the launch of Higher’s new website. The new website quickly connects you with materials, best practices, and resources to enhance your work and save you time.

The new site includes three main menus:

  1. Resources: Quickly link to tools for career counselors, job developers, job readiness trainers, and employers. This section features our Online Learning Institute, expert-led webinars, guides, toolkits, and training courses.
  2. About Us: Learn more about us and how you can get involved.
  • Blog Library: Search our collection of blog postings for best practices and ideas on other topics relevant to your work. Search categories include job development, Job Readiness, Career Advancement, new resources, and more

Please make sure all of your refugee employment colleagues and employer partners are following us — share the Higher Blog with other refugee employment providers and employer partners.

Email information@higheradvantege.org to give us feedback on the new site.

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Get to Know Your State’s SNAP Options

Refugees in the United States can access many federal and state supportive programs upon arrival. One of those programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides funding to assist eligible, low-income families to purchase food each month based on household income and size. For more information on the funding amounts supplied per household, see the updated 2018 Income Eligibility Standards. Although SNAP is federally funded, states have some flexibility to tailor the program to best meet their local communities’ specific needs.

As a refugee employment specialist, you need a solid working knowledge of the SNAP program and how employment income affects this benefit in order to accurately calculate client self-sufficiency and to educate your clients about the changes they can anticipate upon starting work. The SNAP State Options Report provides specific information on how your state’s SNAP program is executed, and can help you identify changes from previous years and make comparisons to other states’ SNAP programming. The October 2016 report is the most recent edition, and you can view past reports on the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service website in order to make the comparisons with previous years.

The SNAP State Options Report is broken into two sections. Both sections highlight the same 27 categories of program options, such as work requirements and disqualification policies, reporting systems used, and availability of online SNAP applications. Here is how to use each report section:

  1. National Option Profiles (p. 2 – 28) show visual map comparisons of how state programs operate. This section also provides explanations of the different SNAP program options, such as defining “Simplified Income and Resources” and clarifying how SNAP certification workflow and case management differ among states.
  2. State Agency Profiles (p. 29 – 81) show state-by-state charts of SNAP information. This section is most helpful in seeing a snapshot of how your state’s SNAP program is set up.

The National Option Profiles demonstrate the various aspects of each option that the state agency profile highlights in section two of the report. For example, one option highlights the Work Requirements and Disqualification Policy on page 19. This allows one to see the specifics on the national minimum requirement, how each state exceeds the requirements, and requirements of termination from SNAP. This information is crucial when looking at specific state information in section two, State Agency Profiles, because each option is not provided with definitions.

For the purpose of this review, two states (Arizona and New Jersey) were chosen as examples to reflect how the report can be used.

In section one, the map on page 19 shows which states fall under which category of disqualification policy. The State of Arizona chose that the entire household could be disqualified from SNAP based on becoming ineligible for benefits along with the regulatory minimum. The “minimum periods set by law are 1 month for the first instance, 3 months for the second, and 6 months for the third.”  While the state of New Jersey however, chose only the regulatory minimum.

For section two:

On page 31, one can look at the SNAP State Agency Profile for Arizona. State-specific information includes:

  • SNAP program is administered by the state rather than individual counties in AZ. (Identified in the Program Administration option)
  • Arizona households can apply for SNAP and TANF with one application in some cases. (Identified in the Joint Processing – TANF option)
  • All household income and deductions are counted toward SNAP eligibility, even if the household includes ineligible non-citizens who cannot receive SNAP benefits. (Identified in the Treatment of Income and Deductions of Ineligible Non-Citizens option)
  • Clients in AZ can apply and recertify their SNAP eligibility using an online application. (Identified in the Online Application option).

On page 60, one can look at the SNAP State Agency Profile for New Jersey. Examples of information found are:

  • SNAP program is administered by the county rather than the state in NJ. (Identified in the Program Administration option)
  • New Jersey households can apply for SNAP and TANF with one application in some cases. (Identified in the Joint Processing – TANF option)
  • All household income and deductions are counted toward SNAP eligibility, even if the household includes ineligible non-citizens who cannot receive SNAP benefits, with the exception of prorated SNAP months. (Identified in the Treatment of Income and Deductions of Ineligible Non-Citizens option)
  • Clients in NJ can apply for their SNAP eligibility using an online application. (Identified in the Online Application option).

Be sure to check out what options your state chooses and how they implement the policies. You can find more SNAP information and further research here.

Questions on how to use the report or access data? Email us at information@higheradvantage.org.

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Workforce GPS Webinar

Join Workforce GPS for the Protecting Farmworkers from Sexual Harassment and Human Trafficking: State Level Activities webinar on Thursday January 25, 2018 from 2:00 – 3:30 EST.

The webinar will feature Jorge Acero, State Monitor Advocate Maine Department of Labor. The webinar will focus on migrant and seasonal farmworkers’ experiences related to sexual harassment and human trafficking. Jorge’s focus during the webinar, is to share:

  • The prevalence of sexual harassment and human trafficking within the farmworker community in the state;
  • WIOA regulation on sexual harassment and human trafficking training;
  • How to leverage resources and support from state administration and partners (including coalition groups at the state level and non-profit organizations);
  • How to develop a sexual harassment and human trafficking training plan that outlines audience, needs, objectives, strategy, and key training contents.

 

To register for this webinar, you must first create a free account with Workforce GPS, click here to create an account.

Registration for this webinar is limited and is a first-come, first-serve basis, to register for this webinar, click here.

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New Online Service from the EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC is the federal agency to call if your clients are experiencing discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.

The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.  Impacted individuals may now file and manage a complaint through an online portal.

On November 2, 2017, the EEOC launched the EEOC Public Portal to provide online access to individuals experiencing possible employment discrimination. Each year the EEOC receives over 300,000 inquiries over the phone, so a move to the digital era will allow them to respond quickly to inquiries.

The new system enables individuals to digitally sign and file a charge prepared by the EEOC on their behalf. According to the press release from the EEOC, “once an individual files a charge, he or she can use the EEOC Public Portal to provide and update contact information, agree to mediate the charge, upload documents to his or her charge file, receive documents and messages related to the charge from the agency and check on the status of his or her charge.” An EEOC investigation can take anywhere between 8 weeks to 10 months.

EEOC information should be included in your job readiness curriculum so clients know their rights as workers and know where to turn to in order to seek justice if their rights are violated.

For more information on the EEOC and how to file a charge visit this page.

 

Need further assistance on how to file an EEOC complaint? Write to us at information@higheradvantage.org.

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Please Welcome Higher’s New Hire

Finally the day is here! Higher is excited to welcome our new Network Engagement Specialist, Katie Jipson. She has significant experience in refugee employment, including 5 years at Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley in Dayton, Ohio. Katie worked in state employment programs coordinating volunteers, working with refugee youth, and developing employer partnerships.

As part of the Higher team, Katie will focus on our network engagement platforms like the blog, website, and online learning management system.

You can reach Katie at information@higheradvantage.org to request assistance in meeting your challenges or to share successes.

Please join us in welcoming Katie to the Higher team!

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Introducing a New Higher Peer Advisor: Dan Peterson

Higher recruits a team of refugee employment professionals who serve as advisors to Higher and share their expertise in workforce development. The advisors are drawn from diverse audiences including national resettlement agencies and their affiliate offices, government programs, and others involved in workforce development. They promote our resources within their own social media networks, join Higher staff for trainings across the country, contribute to webinars and other virtual trainings, write guest blogs, and provide their insight and expertise to specific technical assistance requests throughout the year.

Recently, World Relief headquarters nominated Dan Peterson as a Higher Peer Advisor. Please welcome Dan! Don’t hesitate to reach out to him (dpeterson@wr.org).

Dan: Hello Higher community. My name is Dan Peterson and I am an Employment Specialist in Wheaton, Illinois with World Relief DuPage/Aurora. My primary role has been working with new arrivals, but recently I have been working with clients to secure their second jobs and to achieve career advancement opportunities. Before coming to World Relief, I was a graduate of cross-cultural studies from the Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies in Tasmania, Australia.

I am excited for this opportunity to serve as a peer adviser and to learn alongside each one of you. I hope for this to be a collaborative opportunity with the goal of providing excellent employment services to our clients.

A few unrelated personal facts: I love lousy horror movies, I am an avid Yerba Mate tea drinker, and I love pretending to be an avid outdoorsman.

Dan Peterson

Early Employment Specialist, World Relief Dupage / Aurora

dpeterson@wr.org

If you know someone who would make a great Peer Advisor for Higher, please write to us at information@higheradvantage.org.

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DOL Training Announcement: WIOA Youth Eligibility Live Question and Answer Session

Register Now

The Department of Labor presents the “Our Journey Together TA Series.” This training will include a review of the eligibility portion of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Final Rule webinar and a live questions and answers session on WIOA youth eligibility through the webinar platform chat feature.

One of the most common topics which we receive questions on is WIOA youth eligibility.  This is not surprising as the eligibility requirements are fairly complex. We will replay the WIOA youth eligibility portion of the WIOA Youth Final rule previously recorded webinar as a refresher on WIOA youth eligibility and will provide an opportunity for live questions and answers on all issues related to WIOA youth eligibility.  Come prepared with all of your eligibility questions.

WIOA Youth Eligibility Live Question and Answer Session

Presenter(s): Evan Rosenberg, Division of Youth Services, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Moderator(s): Sara Hastings, Division of Youth Services, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Time: 2:30 PM-4:00 PM ET

**Registration for this event is limited and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis; please register today.**

Register Now

 

 

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New Funding Opportunity from ORR

Looking for an opportunity to fund a career advancement program that will assist refugees on a path to long term economic integration?

ORR has recently published a funding opportunity announcement for the Refugee Career Pathways program. This is a new program that will fund efforts to assist refugees in obtaining professional or skilled employment using the career pathways approach. The full application can be found by clicking here.

Application Due Date: 08/29/2017

Please note that a previous forecast on grants.gov that indicated this program would be funded in fiscal year 2017 has been removed. ORR anticipates awarding grants under this program in November 2017 (fiscal year 2018).

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