At a recent Maryland-wide workshop which focused on refugee workforce development, Higher had participants do a brainstorming activity, in which groups worked together to list common barriers refugees face to employment as well as possible solutions.
These types of activities inevitably generate a “wish list” of solutions which are great ideas but not always in our power to implement quickly (e.g. adding staff members, ESL at work sites, home-based self-employment for refugee women).
While there are certainly times to pursue those big ideas, perhaps the best thing about exercises like this is that they allow groups to identify simpler solutions that can be implemented immediately.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll share some of these insights from your Maryland peers, focusing on simple and practical strategies that are relatively easy to implement! Last week we focused on tips for overcoming childcare challenges. This week we’ll share a few tips on overcoming the barrier of transportation challenges.
Tips for Overcoming Transportation Challenges:
- Cover transportation options into job readiness training. Include orientations about public transportation, including information about weekly or monthly bus passes, using smart phone applications to get around, perhaps even information about obtaining driver’s licenses.
- Develop partnerships with public and private transportation organizations.
- Be strategic about resettling families closer to job location and/or public transportation hubs.
- Work with local DMV offices to improve accessibility for speakers of other languages.
- Encourage your clients to work with you on this challenge, asking them to network within their community to explore solutions.
Stay tuned for more tips from MD refugee employment programs and stakeholders. Future barriers will include limited English proficiency, limited computer skills, and unrealistic client expectations.
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