How the Refugee Employment Network Can Help Syrians NOW

Tsyria-map-21he Obama administration will increase the number of refugees the United States is willing to accept in 2017 to 100,000, a significant increase over the current annual worldwide cap of 70,000. Under the plan, the limit on visas for refugees would be increased to 85,000 in 2016 from 70,000 now. Syrians would be among the beneficiaries.” Click here to read the NY Times report about yesterday’s announcement from Secretary of State John Kerry.

We’re all at the front line of the U.S. response to the growing global refugee crisis that includes Syrians, Eritreans, Rohingya and many more.  We’re already in the midst of a surge in arrivals, many of whom need our service to successfully enter the U.S. workforce with a strong foundation for future career laddering and community integration.

If you’re like me, you’re feeling like a potential super hero and a deer caught in the headlights.

You’ve got this.

Our commitment, creativity, employer partners and employment service delivery expertise are assets that make a difference in refugee lives every day. We have a proven track record of adjusting all of these assets to accommodate new client populations.

The current Syrian crisis is unique, but the need for flexible, culturally-appropriate service delivery is the same. The most important thing we can all do is focus on what we know works for our clients no matter their country of origin.

The crisis is still growing.  There are no easy answers and our work won’t be easy, either.  Here are three places to start:

  1. You’re already innovating in response to the arrivals surge.  Find out about some of the strategies others are using in a previous Higher blog post.  
  2. Capitalize on growing public awareness about the global refugee crisis to deepen and expand your network of employer partners. Employers want to respond to the crisis, but might not know how.  As always, you can offer them solutions. Hiring and integrating refugees into their workplaces now will expand opportunities for refugees – including Syrians – as arrivals increase.
  3. Conduct an objective assessment of your services, policies and processes.  Small adjustments or enhancement to case documentation protocols, intake and assessment processes, job readiness class curriculums and your own skills will all add up to increased efficiency and effectiveness for all of your clients now and going forward.   
What are you doing to prepare for increased arrivals and a new Syrian population?  How can Higher support you? Tell us at






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