As we all continue to work with increasing numbers of Congolese, the statistics listed in this post suggest the need to rethink three core components of refugee employment strategies.
46% of all Congolese applicants speak Kinyarwanda.
65% speak little or no English.
53% are under the age of 18 and only 27% are over the age of 26.
54% report the ability to read well in any language.
1. Some of our usual job placement strategies around language may be less possible. This population speaks very diverse languages, so fewer may have a language in common than in other populations. Many of these languages are not widely served by interpreters. With so few English speakers, it may be difficult to place groups of clients in jobs including one with some English skills.
2. We may need to develop new partnerships to increase options for education. This population is overwhelmingly young and has not had much access to education. Demand for opportunities for educaiton will be high. Partnerships with community colleges, GED and adult literacy programs, Job Corps or other short term vocational training options will be even more important with this population.
3. More part time job options will likely be needed to accommodate ESL and other educational priorities, especially for younger arrivals who still need to support themselves and/or large families.
Watch Higher’s blog for more. Tell us about your experiences working with Congolese.