New CORE Videos Offer Useful Employment Stories

SIV Stories:  Starting Anew in the United States

Three new videos from the Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange (CORE) include excellent first hand stories from Iraqi and Afghan SIVs about their employment experience.

They specifically discuss adjusting expectations around starter jobs, realistic hourly wages, career advancement and how many members of a family might need to work.

Each one is 10-15 minutes long, so you might want to first identify where to queue just the part you want to use in your job readiness activities. They’re available in English, Arabic and Farsi.

SIV Video Series

Please follow and like us:

Reminder: Register Now to Join our Webinar on Thursday, June 30th

6.30 webinarPlease join us Thursday, June 30th at 3:30 pm EST for a free webinar, Job Development Strategies for Syrian Clients.

Learn about emerging job development strategies that have been effective for Syrian clients.  Hear how your peers provide employment services that are client-centered and results-oriented.

Panelists will discuss unique barriers to employment faced by Syrian clients, as well as the unique skills they bring with them to the U.S.  Whether it’s your first day or you’re a seasoned job developer, you won’t want to miss this opportunity!

Register for the webinar here.

Please follow and like us:

Free Higher Webinar: Job Development Strategies for Syrian Clients

6.30 webinarPlease join us Thursday, June 30th at 3:30 pm EST for a free webinar, Job Development Strategies for Syrian Clients.

Learn about emerging job development strategies that have been effective for Syrian clients.  Hear how your peers provide employment services that are client-centered and results-oriented.

Panelists will discuss unique barriers to employment faced by Syrian clients, as well as the unique skills they bring with them to the U.S.  Whether it’s your first day or you’re a seasoned job developer, you won’t want to miss this opportunity!

Register for the webinar here.

Please follow and like us:

The History of Vietnamese Refugee Resettlement

A Historical Perspective that is Relevant Today 

ha-duong-winter-1975

The author’s parents and elder sister from the article.

Most of us came to this work after refugees from the war in Vietnam began what many say is the first population to be resettled In the modern refugee resettlement system. 

Written by a US citizen and child of Vietnamese refugees, an article in qz.com offers facts, shares a very personal story and highlights similarities to current fears about Syrian refugee arrivals. 

“Today the 1.3 million immigrants from Vietnam and their 300,000 or so children, along with their culture and cuisine, are just one more inextricable strand of the American fabric.”  

The article includes convincing statistics that highlight the successes of this resettled population from the Migration Policy Institute and Pew Research. There’s so much to inspire and inform you in the story.  

BanhMi

Banh Mi. Yummy.

Right now, I can’t stop thinking about a bahn mi for lunch, though. 

Please follow and like us:

Religious Observance and Employment: Headscarves

Headscarf Employment Barriers @ higheradvantage.orgThrowback Thursday: a classic Higher blog post about a fundamental of our work.

Addressing religious beliefs that present barriers to employment is tricky.  Religious expression is personal and individual.

Finding the right balance between addressing potential barriers to employment and respecting religious freedom can feel uncomfortable, especially when speaking to someone with different beliefs than your own.

Click here to read a great TedTalk explanation of how headscarfs have become the symbol of a stereotype and the diverse motivations Muslim women feel for making their own choice about how to dress.  It will definitely help you understand, empathize and feel more comfortable talking to clients about this.

3 Talking Points You Can Use

Here are three practical talking points that will help you address barriers to employment around headscarfs in the workplace:

1. Women will not be forced to work with their heads uncovered or dressed in other ways that go against their beliefs.  Discrimination based on religion, nationality, gender or ethnic origin (among others) is illegal.

Click here to read the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance on Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities.

2. There are many legitimate reasons for employer concern that go beyond discrimination.  We can help address those.  Often, concerns are related to hygeine and safety because loose clothing and flowing scarves can get caught in equipment or dangle into food or cleaning chemicals. Safety laws protect workers and customers.  Employers are required by law to follow them.

3.  Shorter, more tailored headscarfs, often in colors matching uniforms are widely available.  You can work with employers to provide examples and even find online sources to order them.  This goes for uniform options like loose pants, long skirts or modesty aprons, too.

One Employer’s Experience and Solution

Employers need to ensure that all employees are treated fairly. If some are given special privileges to dress differently, others might see it as discrimination against them. Here’s an example of how one employer addressed the issue with Muslim employees and their colleagues:

When a hotel partner provided loose uniform pants, longer, more modest tops and matching headscarfs for Muslim women housekeepers, some of their non-Muslim colleagues complained. Previous requests for permission to wear pants, bandanas or baseball caps had been denied.  It didn’t seem fair that some colleagues received special privileges. The hotel invited an Employment Specialist (also a Muslim) to speak at a staff meeting about the basic tenets of Islam around women and clothing. They also requested help to identify a source of specialty uniforms.  We were able to ask another hotel partner to share their previous experience and solutions with the HR department. In the end, the hotel opened the option to wear uniform pants for all women housekeepers but continued to forbid any kind of head covering except for religious purposes.

(A great conversation with Church World Service colleagues motivated a new occasional series of posts to help address common issues we face around religious observance and U.S. workplace norms. Please get in touch to request topics or volunteer to contribute a guest post about some aspect of the topic, that will cover a number of religions, not just Islam.  Comment on this post or send email to information@higheradvantage.org and stay tuned for more.) 

 

Please follow and like us:

Friday Feature: George and Amal Clooney Talk to Syrian Refugees

Any resource that deepens our knowledge about the Syrian refugee experience is valuable, especially when it raises positive public awareness.  And George Clooney!  Ok, and Amal, too.

(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.)

Please follow and like us:

Friday Feature: Syrian Refugees Parts 1 and 2: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

samanthaTwo recent episodes of TBS’s Full Frontal with Samanta Bee are filmed in Jordan and New Jersey.  You can see refugee camps, urban refugee life and overseas pre-departure cultural orientation classes.  You’ll also see that the Syrians in these videos have kept their sense of humor despite what they’re going through.

Maybe you won’t want to share these with employers, as is the stated purpose of Friday Features. You’ll hear extreme sarcasm, cursing and politically-incorrect humor targeting many elected officials and hopefuls. They’re timely and hilarious, though.

Syrian Refugees Part 1: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS

Syrian Refugees part 2: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS

(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.)

 

Please follow and like us:

What’s it Like to Resettle Syrians? (A Higher video exclusive)

Learn about the Syrian refugee employment experience of Church World Service in Jersey City, NJ.  Thanks to Mahmoud Mahmoud, Office Director, who shared his experience during Higher’s Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop in Omaha last November.  Hear his take on skilled trades, women in the workplace and more.

Please follow and like us:

Help Lush Support Refugee Welcome

 Shop. Support refugee welcome. Target a new employment partner!

photo 1

Lush store window welcoming refugees in Arabic and English.

Until February 28, UK-based cosmetics company Lush is advocating for welcoming refugees.  Lush store windows and in-store displays feature welcome messages in Arabic and English and include note cards for customers to write their own welcoming messages for refugees.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 7.19.30 PM

The company was inspired to launch the campaign after the U.S. and Canada announced plans last year to welcome refugees fleeing the ongoing violence in Syria. Canada vowed in November to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in the country by the end of February, while the U.S. pledged last September to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of September 2016.

“When we look back 10, 15 or 20 years [from now] on this crisis, we’ll know that we took the right action, that we stood to welcome [them], and that we’re on the right side of history,” says Coleen Pickard, who is responsible for researching and launching Lush’s ethical campaigns, in an article in huffingtonpost.com.

photo 2

Lush staff, like those in my favorite Baltimore store, are enthusiastic and well-informed about refugees, making them the perfect job development target right now!

Move Lush to the top of your job development target list and bring the resumes of qualified customer service candidates to their retail stores. Staff in the stores are enthusiastic and well-informed about the cause.  Now’s the time to discuss hiring opportunities!

Consider using this amazing example of employer advocacy to encourage other employment partners to promote refugee welcome, as well.  Click here to read how to get your own Refugees Welcome window stickers from burlsesquedesign.com to make it easy for employment partners to speak up, too.

 

Please follow and like us:

Workforce Collaboration Case Study: Ready for Retail Training for Refugee Youth

Photo Credit: ACC-DEN

Photo Credit: ACC-DEN

ECDC’s African Community Center of Denver, CO (ACC) shares what they have learned through a very successful training program for refugee youth that partners with two American Job Centers, funds ACC’s retail customer service training program and builds workplace skills for refugee youth.

Read the case study online or download a PDF version if you prefer. You will learn

  • how and why ACC began partnering with mainstream workforce centers;
  • how to register as an Eligible Training Provider to gain eligibility to receive WIOA training funds for participant training;
  • how ACC’s Ready for Retail training program developed over time and what participants say about how they benefitted; and
  • some of the lessons ACC learned that you can replicate in your own efforts.
About Higher’s Workforce Collaboration Case Study Series

This case study, written by Higher Peer Advisor Carrie Thiele, ACC Training Program Manager, is the first of five that Higher will make available over the coming months to help us all learn from each other about successful strategies for strengthening our collaboration with the mainstream workforce system so that refugees can better access workforce services provided across the country for all U.S. job seekers.

If you are collaborating with the workforce system in your community and want to share what you’re learning with peers across the country, get in touch at information@higheradvantage.org.

 

Please follow and like us: