New ORR Technical Assistance Award

Higher was awarded a new 3-year technical assistance grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the beginning of October.   Since that time, we have been working hard to define our work plan by talking to local service providers and other key stakeholders in refugee employment.

Higher’s technical assistance for the coming year includes a stronger focus on community engagement.  This is right in line with our new approach and we are pleased to be able to work with ORR to use employment as a critical community engagement strategy.

Our three main priorities in the coming year include:

1) Develop a jobs database by developing national relationships with companies who are interested in hiring refugees

2) Pilot an employment mentoring initiative to deepen social networks for job seekers from a refugee background

3) Create online training for both refugees and service providers that build skills to be successful in the workplace, as a job seeker and job developer, respectively.

Want to be more involved in Higher’s efforts? Here are two ways you can join now!

1) Become a Peer Expert.  Higher’s peer experts regularly offer guidance on individual technical assistance needs and also are called upon to help shape Higher’s business development strategy.  Send your resume to Higher along with a brief introduction about your background in refugee employment.

2) Contribute to Higher’s Blog and Website.  We are looking for guest contributions from service providers, employers and refugees themselves about all things related to refugee employment.  Share a success story, a lesson learned, a new tool or useful resource.  Contact Higher with your contributions.

As always, let Higher know how we can help you.  We are your consultants and look forward to working together in the year ahead so that more refugees work.

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Gardens Are A Place For Personal Growth

When I was living in Zimbabwe, I remember the initial trip from the airport in Harare to the tiny village where I would end up residing. It took hours to get to our designation. The roads were bad and our jeep was no better. Most of the journey there was not much to look at. A few trees here and there and the occasional passerby headed back to the city. But about two hours into the ride, an oasis was unveiled. A beautiful orange grove started to align both sides of the street and I was mesmerized by how the arid landscape transformed into a lush, green canopy. We stopped and purchased oranges from the local farmer’s roadside stand. The air smelled sweet and the oranges were delicious.

It occurred to me when I was back in the States that the farmer I met on my way that day came from the same place as many of our Zimbabwean asylees. It also occurred to me that many of them must have been farmers with amazing talents and how we (the U.S. resettlement network) must capitalize on those talents. This is why I love a recent article in the Baltimore Sun about a new IRC initiative in Baltimore centered on refugee urban gardening.

You see, farming is much more than cultivating, planting, growing, and harvesting produce. You learn a lot about yourself and your abilities. You are able to cultivate and grow relationships with others as well. Both in working together to yield a harvest and selling produce that feeds those who have come to buy it.

Interested in IRC’s urban gardening initiative, click here.

-Jonathan Lucus,

Director of Higher

 

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To Tweet or Not To Tweet…

Higher (during its RefugeeWorks days) spent a lot of time at its trainings talking about social networks and the pervading relevance of networking tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

I ran across an article today that implores job seekers to use Twitter to connect with employers and land a job in less time than a standard job search.

Case in point, I have been trying to gain access into a national food service company. I used LinkedIn to connect with a recruiter who, in turn, connected me with two corporate folks. Now, I have an advantage in getting the meeting I have been trying to set up for weeks!

Below are a few tips from the article:

1) Employers are looking to spend less money on recruiting new employees. Twitter has become a cost effective tool for them.

2) Competition is high for every job openining that is out there. Fifteen million people are out of work in the U.S. It is time to be creative when it comes to networking!

3) Twitter gives you a direct connection to those individuals who are in charge of finding potential talent.

4) Networking, networking, networking. Twitter is a great way to build a network of folks who can give you job leads before they are posted on websites and newspapers.

5) The bottom line is Twitter yields results. And that is what we are all looking for!

See the entire article here.

-Jonathan Lucus,

Director of Higher

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Employers Are Looking On-Line. Are You Visible?

Applying for jobs on-line can be a bit of a conundrum. Will your resume get noticed? Will there be thousands of people applying for the same position? We all wonder these questions in the age of job link websites like Monster.com and Craigslist. However, employers still use these avenues to find talented, qualified people. However, your resume will be tossed aside (virtually) if you are not thorough enough in your presentation.

Below is an article from AOL Jobs that makes the case for taking your time when submitting your application on-line and conveying why you are the right person for the position your are applying for.

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/08/10/employer-says-shes-been-looking-for-a-year-cant-find-a-soul-t/

The article’s author, Claire Gordon gives (4) extremely useful tips that will help ensure an employer will look at your application:

1) Send a cover letter.

2) Explain why you want the job.

3) Mention the position you are applying for.

4) Sell your services, not your goal.

As new Americans strive to enter the workforce they need to set themselves a part from the rest of the job seekers. Being thorough with the application process and being passionate about the job they are applying for will surely help their resumes get more than a passing glance.

-Jonathan Lucus,

Director of Higher

 

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Great Picture Guides Now Available

If you are looking for picture guides for common items used in food-related industries, look no further!  Caritas of Austin is sharing their picture guides with us and they are now posted on the RefugeeWorks website.
They are translated into Arabic, Burmese, Nepali, and Spanish.  And they are simple, clear, and reproducible for free.  Enjoy!
Leave a comment to let us know how you are using the translated guides.
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Foreign-Trained Refugee Professionals Keep Inspiring

A lot of good things are going on in the RefugeeWorks’ Refugee Recertification Program in San Diego.

Issam, one of the original RefugeeWorks engineers was placed by Welcome Bank Center of San Diego (WBC) as a volunteer at the County of San Diego several months ago. Issam was named as the Dept. of Public Works Volunteer of the year, he was awarded this month. Issam has been working to map San Diego County flood plains.

On May 2nd, the WBC will be honoring participants who completed courses last year by awarding Certificates of Completion and State Senator Joel Anderson’s office will be presenting Certificates of Achievement to the students as well. Gail Patterson, the direct of the WBC stated, “Grossmont College and WBC staff are proud of how hard our refugee professionals have worked to achieve- it really is amazing and inspiring.”

In other news: The San Diego Scoop, a local newspaper, ran an article about refugee and immigrant foreign trained professionals in the paper and it was picked up by several of the other local papers in San Diego.

 

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