Guiding and Facilitating Learning – Infographic

All of us are responsible for guiding and facilitating learning in some way.  You might be teaching soft skills to clients in the job readiness classroom or showing the new intern how to book a conference room.  Although this infographic contains tips and suggestions for use in the classroom setting, the first few lines can apply to the informal learning that happens between coworkers every day.

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Source: https://anethicalisland.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/events-in-instruction-event-5/

Friday Feature: Op Ed About the Refugee Experience

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Art by Gracey Zhang featured in the original NYTimes article

Read a recent New York Times editorial, The Hidden Scars All Refugees Carry, by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Spoken in the powerful voice of one former refugee from Vietnam, the article talks about the lasting changes being a refugee makes on those who experience it. The article isn’t long, but it touches on many important points, including the power of labels and categories on perceptions of oneself and others.

Read more about Nguyen’s recent Pulitzer prize winning novel, The Sympathizer, in a previous Higher post.

(On occasional Fridays, we highlight one entertainment option related to our clients or some aspect of our work to help you celebrate the weekend and possibly recommend to employers and other community supporters in the following week.)

 

Have a Job Opportunity to Share? Here’s one in Seattle!

Now HiringWorld Relief Seattle is hiring an Employment Specialist.  Seattle!  Chihuly Glass. The Space Needle.  Pike Street Market.  Strong business and community partnerships.  Innovative refugee programs all over the place.  Cool.

This also got us to thinking that there might be more of you out there who have job opportunities at your office that you would like to share.

Send a link for your refugee employment job opening to information@higheradvantage.org and we’ll post them.

4 (Free) Productivity Tools for the Busy Job Developer

A guest post you won’t want to miss from Higher Peer Advisor Stephen Johnson

Our work is stressful. When every hour counts, saving a few minutes goes a long way. The number of productivity tools and applications (apps) out there is overwhelming.

How do we find the programs that actually support our work? Luckily, I’ve road-tested a few of them so you don’t have to. Here are my top four picks.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 1.52.46 PM1. Google Voice 

You’re familiar with Google products (Docs, Slides, Calendar). But, have you heard of Google Voice?

With Voice you create a unique phone number for use on most mobile devices. This means you can have two phone numbers on the same phone. You can call or text from each separate number using the Google Voice app.

With this app, you no longer have to carry a separate work phone and still maintain some boundaries with clients and your personal life.

For job development, you can set it to see text and voice messages in your email to speed up your response time when you’re at your desk.

For anyone with an out-of-state area code, you can use a local number to cold call employers. Why not find 202-555-JOBS or the equivalent in your area?

Keep in mind that Voice app is free, but you’ll still pay for calls and data usage on your existing phone plan

2. SlyDial   Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 1.50.58 PM

How many times have you wanted to leave a voicemail for someone without actually having to talk to them? Here you are.

SlyDial is a phone-messaging service that sends you directly to voicemail . And, get this. You can send a recorded message to multiple numbers at one time. For me, this was so valuable for client reminders to attend a hiring event or job club.

3. Wunderlist  Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 1.49.39 PM

There are many task management tools out there. If you’re not using some type of system to keep track of your daily to-do list, you probably should be.

Wunderlist stands out for several reasons. The design and interface are simple, easy –to-use and stress-free. You can collaborate between co-workers to create a common to-do list, and access cloud-synced lists from a desktop, laptop, or mobile device.

The program integrates with email to quickly turn messages and attachments into manageable tasks. Supervisors can easily print task lists to delegate to a volunteer or intern.

4. Humin Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 1.54.51 PM

Ever wanted to track your contacts based on when or where you met them?

Humin organizes all of your contacts retroactively and remembers each addition intuitively. The strongest feature is the dynamic search function that lets you look up a contact based on when and where you first met.

Remember that employer you met at a Chamber of Commerce meeting last year but can’t remember his name? The program uses location service when you first save a contact and, context to anticipate the information you might like to remember down the road.

Humin is part of growing technology trend to develop more intuitive and contextual programs. The learning curve is a bit steeper than the other tools on the list. The more you use it, the more powerful it can be.

Editors note:  Technology moves fast.  Humin was  just acquired by Tinder.  Not sure what that means, but for now, their website is down.

stephen johnsonStephen Johnson just left his job as Early Employment Specialist at IRIS- Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services in New Haven, Connecticut. He has 7 years of experience working with refugee communities.  He’s helped our national network in many ways as a member of Higher’s Peer Advisors Network. Bon voyage, Stephen, and thanks from all of us.  

National Healthcare Interpreter Survey

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Image credit: trumed.com

An Important Space to Include the Refugee Perspective 

From now until June 30, a national survey of healthcare interpreters is being conducted by the Certification Commission of Healthcare Interpreters.  Please spread the word to the refugee interpreters who work in the medical field in any context.

The entire profession must be involved. It is important that interpreters of refugee communities complete the JTA survey – this is the only way for their voices to be heard. This is an opportunity for them to influence the profession!

If you are a healthcare interpreter, a language services provider, or a trainer of interpreters, this is your opportunity to truly influence the future of our profession. This is the time for you to become a part of something big and important.

Here’s a summary of the purpose of the survey.  You can read more on the survey facebook page.  

The interpreting world is changing: more interpreters work across modalities – in-person, telephonic and video, more hospitals and language companies require certification. It is important for an effective competency-based certification program to stay current and relevant. The purpose of the surve is to describe the profession as it actually exists, and not as some may want it to be. And this definition must come from the profession itself – not just an expert panel, or a focus group, or industry leaders – but the entire profession.

Thanks to USCRI and RCUSA for providing this important information.

Workforce Resource: On-the-Job Training

On the Job TrainingWelcome to the third post in our series featuring some of the tools, resources and programs available in the mainstream workforce system, shaped by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and delivered through the national network of American Job Centers serving all U.S. job seekers.

It’s a complex, resource-rich system underutilized in refugee employment services. Higher is determined to change that so our clients benefit from new opportunities and employment services.

We’ll do the research you don’t have time for amidst managing client caseloads and employer relationships. You can focus on using highlighted resources to help your clients succeed in the U.S. workforce.

In our first two posts we highlighted online tools that you can utilize in your job counseling and job development efforts. In the next few posts we want to shift to highlighting programs within the mainstream workforce system that can help your clients break into career fields that they are interested in.

Breaking into a Career through On-the-job Training

Breaking into one’s field of choice can be a challenge, even for native-born Americans. On-the-job Training (OJT) is funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and is one strategy for obtaining or updating skills and securing employment.

OJT is a win-win situation in which the OJT participant receives training and employment and the employer is reimbursed for the training costs (usually calculated at half the pay rate for the agreed-upon training period- although under the new WIOA legislation states can choose to increase employer reimbursement up to 75%).

OJT & Refugees

For refugees, OJT can be a strategic way to either re-enter one’s former industry or gain new skills that will put them on a stable career path in the US.

Because OJT is a comprehensive skills training program, it will be most useful for refugees with higher levels of English and literacy. Some programs, however, have found success placing LEP clients in OJT placements when there is a strong relationship between the employer and the refugee employment program in which they work as a team to make sure the OJT training is successful.

From the research Higher has done so far, refugees with backgrounds in “blue-collar” industries (e.g. construction, manufacturing) seem to be a particularly good fit for OJT, because of the experience they bring to the table, and because the federal reimbursement opportunity is attractive to small and medium sized business in these fields.

That being said, there have also been successful OJT placements with both high skilled refugees with more professional backgrounds and low-skilled refugees with little to no work background (see examples below).

Places Where it’s Worked

OmahaOmaha, NE:

Partnership: Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (Omaha) with WIOA Contractor Goodwill Industries of Omaha, NE

Population: Afghan SIVs

Industry: Construction

 

“With [WIOA/OJT] dollars and Lutheran Family Service’s reputation and connection to the community, we’re able to put together a package that speaks to a hiring manager or organization…and it’s quick—participants are getting enrolled in our program and within 3 or 4 weeks they’re working. We use our dollars to pay for tools, steel toed boots—whatever they need to be successful on the job, as well as paying money towards the employer for hiring through our program” –Justin Dougherty, (former) Director of Workforce Services, Goodwill Industries, Inc., Omaha, NE

Orlando__Lake_Eola_1Orlando, FL:

Partnership: Catholic Charities, Orlando, FL and local employers (Catholic Charities operates the OJT program in house using WIOA funds)

Populations: Cubans, Haitians, and Iraqis

Industries: Dentistry (Dental Assistant), Childcare (Assistant Teacher), Logistics/Warehouse, Hospitality (Maintenance Technicians and Front Desk), Food Processing

“OJT is a good option because it provides employment that is higher paying than most entry level positions, gives some clients an opportunity to continue in their field, and gives others a great ‘stepping stone’ job.” –Daisy Clemente, Employment Services Coordinator, Catholic Charities, Orlando, FL

Salt Lake CitySalt Lake City, UT:

Partnership: IRC, Salt Lake City, UT with Utah Department of Workforce Services Office

Populations: Sudanese, Burmese, Iraqi

Industries: Sewing, Construction/remodeling, Glass recycling

 

“We keep OJT in our back pocket as an incentive for employers who are a little hesitant [to hire refugees].” –Nolan LaBarge, Employment Specialist, IRC, Salt Lake City, Utah

Tips for Success

In talking to these 3 sites, some common themes emerged in terms of what made their OJT efforts successful:

  • Commit to learning the system: If you don’t already have someone on staff who has a background in mainstream workforce development, identify someone who can commit the time to learning the process and be the liaison between your office and the American Job Center (AJC). Additionally, look for allies within the mainstream system who are excited about your work and can give you an insider’s perspective on how to navigate the system.
  • Strong job development makes strong OJT placements: Often times it’s the employers you already have strong relationships with who will be most interested in placing your clients in OJT. You can also use OJT as a selling point when approaching new employers. Either way, you can put the opportunity on their radar and if they’re interested, you can can make the connection to the AJC to continue the process.
  • Provide good marketing materials for employers: In the same way that you provide employers good information about refugees, consider also leaving them with a nice brochure about OJT. Give them something to think about, and follow up with them shortly afterwards.
  • Offer employers additional support (coordinating interpretation, etc.): Let them know that you not only can provide them with strong candidates, but you are available to provide reasonable support to them to help with some of the challenges that come along with hiring refugees.
  • Make the right match: Always remember to take your clients past experience and skills into account when recommending them for OJT. While OJT may at times provide an opportunity for someone to learn completely new skills, the OJT program is primarily designed to be a skills upgrade program, and trainees are expected to begin contributing as productive workers on day one. The refugee programs that have found success with OJT have done so largely because they capitalized on skills their clients already had.

Getting Started & Learning More

If OJT is new for you, the best place to get started would be to contact your local American Job Center (AJC). Click here to find an AJC near you.

Once you identify the OJT resources and process in your community, you can begin marketing the program to employers that you work with.

The Employment Training Administration (ETA) is in the process of updating its’ OJT Toolkit which will be made available soon on the new Workforce GPS website, but in the meantime click here to access a recent webinar entitled “Strategies for Implementing OJT Simply and Effectively” as well as an OJT Training Brief and Resource Guide by the same name (you can find it in the left hand column called “Related Resources”).

Coming Soon…

Also, keep your eyes out in the next month or so for the next edition of our Workforce Collaboration Case Study Series, which will take a deeper look at the OJT partnership (highlighted briefly in this post) between Lutheran Family Services and Goodwill Industries in Omaha, NE.

Have You Placed Clients in OJT?

It’s impossible for us to know everything that everyone is doing out there. If you’ve placed clients in OJT, please let us know so that we can learn from your experiences as we continue to look at this strategy for refugee employment! Send us an email at information@higheradvantage.org.

 

Good Ideas to Celebrate World Refugee Day 2016

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Celebrating Refugee Day

World Refugee Day (June 20) is less than a month away.  

If you don’t yet have a plan for engaging your community, it’s not too late!

Check out this Higher post for seven ways you can engage employers around World Refugee Day.  And, here are four more creative examples from your peers’ 2015 World Refugee Day celebrations across the country.

Promote World Refugee Day and your communities’ celebrations with these two hashtags:  #WRD2016 and #withrefugees.  To make it even easier, get some quick facts and sample tweets, thanks to Refugee Council USA.

Tell us how you’ll showcase and engage employment partners on World Refugee Day this year at information@higheradvantage.org.

Working with Congolese Clients – Video

We’re sharing this video with your mainstream workforce peers today, and we thought you might like to see it too!  Thank you, James Kalunga, for sharing your expertise and client-centered approach with us.

Simple Strategies to Address Common Barriers, Part 4

digital literacy 1At 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 next few weeks, we’ll share some of these insights from your Maryland peers, focusing on simple and practical strategies that are relatively easy to implement! So far, we’ve focused on tips for overcoming Limited English Proficiency (LEP) challengestips for overcoming transportation challenges and tips for overcoming childcare challenges. This week we’ll share a few tips on overcoming the barrier of Computer Access/Digital Literacy.

Tips for Overcoming Computer Access/Digital Literacy Challenges:

  1. Connect clients to local computer labs and/or digital literacy training opportunities. Suggested Resource: The Literacy Directory lists free resources to help adult students reach life goals in areas such as improving reading, math, and science skills, learning English, building job and job search skills, becoming a U.S. citizen, and finding adult education, child, family, and digital literacy programs.
  2. Help clients access low-cost computers. Suggested Resource: EveryoneON is a national nonprofit working to eliminate the digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet service and computers, and free digital literacy courses accessible to all unconnected Americans. A true digital literacy initiative, they aim to leverage the democratizing power of the Internet to provide opportunity to all Americans – regardless of age, race, geography, income, or education level. Let’s help them do this!
  3. Educate clients about affordable internet options. Suggested Resource: ConnectHome is a public-private collaboration to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children who live in HUD-assisted housing. ConnectHome is the next step in President Obama’s continued efforts to bring affordable broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and electronic devices to all Americans.
  4. Utilize interns and/or volunteers to help clients improve their computer skills. Suggested Resource: DigitalLearn.org is a collection of self-directed tutorials for end-users to increase their digital literacy, and a community of practice for digital literacy trainers to share resources, tools and best practices.
  5. Encourage your clients to work with you on this challenge, asking them to network within their community to explore solutions.

Stay tuned for more tips from MD refugee employment programs and stakeholders. The final part in this series will address unrealistic client expectations.

Do you recommend any additional digital literacy resources? Feel free to participate in the conversation by leaving a comment below or sending us an email at information@higheradvantage.org.

April 14th at 2:00pm EST – Webinar: Supporting the Success of Skilled Immigrants

On behalf of the White House Task Force on New Americans, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) has partnered with WES Global Talent Bridge and IMPRINT to examine some of the barriers foreign-educated workers face in accessing professional employment. Presenters from U.S. Department of Labor, English for New Bostonians, LaGuardia Community College, and Accenture will discuss promising practices and the role that innovative approaches in funding and employer engagement can play in helping communities integrate highly-skilled immigrants into the workforce.

For more information and to register, please click here.