With such a small staff, in order to stay in touch with changing trends in employment across the nation, Higher recruits a team of refugee employment professionals and others with expertise in refugee employment programming to join its peer expert network. Service as a Peer Advisor is voluntary. Peer Advisors help Higher disseminate resources, test our new tools, provide feedback on what topics are most prevalent, and what changes are happening on the ground in employment.
Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego
Bonni has been working in employment since 2001 and is dedicated to employment development and training. She was a corporate recruiter for over seven years and has five years of experience in college career services and teaching. Since February of 2012 she has been the Employment Supervisor at Catholic Charities Refugee Services in San Diego CA.
US Together, Columbus, OH
Mukti came to the US as a refugee in 2009 and has worked for US Together, a HIAS affiliate in Columbus, OH, since May 2010. In addition to job development duties, Mukti organizes job readiness classes, conducts employment assessments, and provides employment case management. Mukti holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Sociology from Tribhuvan University in Nepal and worked as a school Administrator for six years. Mukti also helped to coordinate educational programs with both government and NGO organizations in Nepal. In addition to his work at US Together, Mukti is currently an active Board Member of the Bhutanese Nepali Community of Columbus, OH.
Early Employment Specialist
World Relief Dupage / Aurora
Dan Peterson currently works as an Early Employment Specialist for World Relief Dupage/Aurora. He has been in this role since January 2016. Before working for World Relief, Dan was a recent graduate of Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies in Tasmania, Australia where he received a B.A. of Cross-Cultural Studies. Dan is currently a comments columnist for Christian Today Australia as well as a peer advisor for Higher. In his free time Dan enjoys reading a variety of genres, discovering good coffee, and dreaming of the future.
Episcopal Migration Ministry, Wichita, KS
Gary Phelps has been on staff with Episcopal Wichita Area Refugee Ministry since 2013 and “wears many hats” at this small office doing BIG things. Gary helps clients on their path to self-sufficiency by coordinating community and state benefit referrals, social services and employment services. Gary is highly involved in community planning meetings and organizing partnerships with influential persons and organizations in the community that can impact the growth and success of the refugees in Wichita. Gary enjoys family time with his wife and two kids, playing guitar and writing music, drawing and sports.
Employment Program Manager
International Center of Kentucky, Bowling Green, KY
Kelly Rice has a B.S in Finance from Virginia Tech and an HR certificate from Western Kentucky University. She worked at Wells Fargo for 8 years and joined the International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green as Employment Program Manager in May 2013.
Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
Carol Tucker has worked in job development since 1998 and has served refugee communities in both Texas and Nebraska. In addition to refugee employment, Carol’s expertise includes case management, volunteer coordination, ESL and Job Readiness. Carol has also worked within the mainstream workforce system, and is a leader in our network in connecting refugees to mainstream resources such as On-the-job Training (OJT). In a field of work with high levels of burnout and staff turnover, Carol has stuck with it, and remains passionate about serving refugees and connecting them to employment opportunities.
World Relief, Seattle, WA
Ellie has worked in the Employment Program at World Relief Seattle since 2010. Prior to her time at World Relief, Ellie was an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, working with Japanese students at Western Washington University, with the JET (Japanese Exchange and Teaching) program in Japan, and at a literacy program in the Greater Seattle area as an AmeriCorps member. She completed a Master’s in International Community Development at Northwest University in 2011. She loves working with people from other cultures, sharing meals with refugee friends, enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and gardening.