Refugee Employment in the News

Photo credit: Pima County Public Library

I couldn’t resist keeping up with blog content over the holidays. In case you aren’t such a huge refugee employment geek, here are three stories you may have missed about refugees living and working in Tuscon, the Bronx and Lancaster, PA.

Career Ladders and Benefits of Refugee Experience in Tuscon

My experience as a refugee helped me learn how to look for all of the resources and services available here in Tucson…I provided them with information they needed until they got a job. Because I knew what it was like to start your life from zero. Bushra Faesel

Gyan Gurung Office in Times Square Suzanne DeChillonytimes

Photo Credit: Suzanne DeChillo, NYTimes

Commuting to an Office Job in Times Square

A photo essay about “the largest Bhutanese enclave” in the Bronx and Gayat Gurung’s commute to Times Square.

Starter Job in Lancaster, PA

Farhan Al Qadri, who recently arrived from Syria with most of his family, already has a $10.50/hr starter job in an egg processing plant and dreams of buying a house.

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4 New Years Resolutions for Better Client Services

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 8.34.50 PMNow is a good time to get a bit more organized to start the new year.

Recent research shows that the state of your workspace has an impact on concentration and efficiency.

Here are four resolutions you should keep. (Never mind those other ones if you even bothered to make them.)


1.  Catch up on filing. (Not to mention case notes!)

2.  Move five things on your desk into a drawer. (Piles of scribbled sticky notes equal one thing.)

3.  Remove all outdated client resource flyers and materials from your cube wall. (Be a hero.  Do the same in client common areas.)

4.  Add something new to your refugee employment practice. (Think new community referral source or potential employer.)

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Employer Outreach Inspires AND Delivers Results

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Rosemary Woren, Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, EAC member, and a future refugee employer


I have long been skeptical about the cost benefit of Employer Advisory Councils and Outreach Events.  As a Job Developer, they always seems like a ton of work for intangible results.

After an opportunity to see things from the other side – as a member of IRC Baltimore’s Employer Advisory Council (EAC) – I’ve changed my mind. Engaging employers to lead expansion of your job development efforts is a win-win.

Here’s our success story.

We (my fellow EAC members and the IRC staff team) organized and hosted an inspiring, impactful and fun employer happy hour in Baltimore last week.

22 new potential employers accepted our invitations to join us. Current employer partners recruited the guest list and then pitched the value of hiring refugees from the peer perspective. Powerful!

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Juan Williams, Baltimore Harbor Hotel GM, and another future refugee employer

The Baltimore Harbor Hotel contributed the venue, tasty snacks that never ran out and brought on additional staff to make the event run smoothly. The hotel hires and promotes refugees, believes in the win-win and puts their resources behind their commitment.

EAC members contributed a ton of time and planning energy AND money to help sponsor a two hour open bar to create a festive networking atmosphere.

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IRC staff sharing enthusiasm, knowledge and energy.

The entire IRC Baltimore staff pitched in and showed up.  Everyone – from the Executive Director to a team of interns and volunteers.  This degree of organizational commitment helped make the event a success.

We planned for approx. six months, invited more than 125 employers and will follow-up with attendees and everyone who couldn’t make it, as well.  We’re already thinking about what’s next even before our June Quarterly meeting.

What I Learned and How it Re-inspires Me for Our Work

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to be several steps removed from helping refugees – the heart of what inspires us all. I believe Higher’s work is important. Supporting all of you makes a difference in the quality of services refugees can access.  I hope it also helps keep all of you inspired, sane and equipped with helpful resources.

Being able to stay involved in the work of a local resettlement agency has given me fresh motivation for our work. I’ve learned two really important things from serving on IRC Baltimore’s Employer Advisory Council.

The first is the power of inspiration.  Offering employer partners a chance to deepen and act on their commitment to refugees is powerful and rewarding for everyone involved.

The second is that they’ll get more out of it than they realize.  My fellow EAC members are helping me outside of our work with the IRC and asking me for help, too.

Oh, one more thing.  It was – and is – so much fun.

Give these strategies a try in your work. And get in touch if you want tips from a proud Employer Advisory Council member!



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