Simple Strategies to Address Common Barriers, Part 1



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 right now!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share some of these insights from your Maryland peers, focusing in on simple and practical strategies that are relatively easy to implement! This week we’ll share a few tips on overcoming the barrier of childcare challenges:

Tips for Overcoming Childcare Challenges:

  • Take the time to understand local childcare/early education resources and options (there may be more resources available than you’re aware of).
  • Mobilize interns/volunteers to facilitate the logistics and paperwork necessary to set up childcare.
  • Have early conversations with both parents to set realistic expectations regarding whether or not both parents will need to work and what the childcare options will be.
  • Have a plan for single parent situations.
  • Be strategic about scheduling parents on different shifts that will allow them to share childcare responsibilities if necessary.
  • Search for jobs near childcare centers in order to streamline the process of dropping kids off and getting to work.
  • Encourage your clients to work with you on this challenge, asking them to network within their community to explore solutions.

For more on childcare solutions, click here.

Stay tuned for more tips from MD refugee employment programs and stakeholders. Future barriers will include transportation, limited English proficiency, limited computer skills, and unrealistic client expectations.

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