WES Career Pathway Guides

Higher presents a guest post from World Education Services (WES) Global Talent Bridge announcing their new career pathways guides.

Skilled immigrants and refugees can find step-by-step guidance on how to use their international education and professional experience in the United States or Canada in World Education Services (WES) Global Talent Bridge’s new Pathways e-guide series.

What are the Pathways e-guides about?

WES Global Talent Bridge created its new Pathways e-guide series to help skilled immigrants explore career and academic pathways in their professional fields. The guides offer practical information on the different educational pathways in each field, licensing and certification requirements for common field-specific careers, and career options that make the best use of transferable skills.

The e-guides provide sector-specific advice and resources on academic requirements, career options, and, when applicable, licensing and certification requirements. A one-stop source for strategies, support, and additional resources, the Pathways e-guides are helpful at every step of the journey toward professional success for skilled immigrants in the United States or Canada.

What fields do the Pathways e-guides cover?

So far, WES Global Talent Bridge has published Pathways e-guides for the fields of nursing and education. WES Global Talent Bridge plans to publish additional e-guides for internationally trained health care professionals in the coming months. Additional future topics include regulated fields like engineering and architecture, as well as unregulated fields like business, information technology, and the creative arts.

Like Career Pathways in Nursing, the upcoming e-guides will feature:

  • Strategies for achieving career success.
  • Helpful charts highlighting licensing and certification requirements.
  • Interactive worksheets and guides.
  • Success stories spotlighting the real-life professional pathways of skilled-immigrants.
  • Links to helpful resources in each field.

For more information on WES Global Talent Bridge’s Pathways, contact Mia Nacamulli mnacamul@wes.org.

For additional information on career pathways, checkout Higher’s recertification assistance guides for engineers, accountants, pharmacists, and more. For examples of career pathway programs, go to Higher’s blog.

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Baltimore Healthcare Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a valuable solution to creating a path for refugees to get started in a new field, upgrade a current position, or get back into a former field. The Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (BACH) has created an apprenticeship program that provides an opportunity for just that. BACH seeks to create a pipeline of qualified frontline healthcare workers in the Baltimore area by collaborating with local employers and community colleges to provide training opportunities to interested individuals.

To engage refugee participants in the program, BACH collaborated with the International Rescue Committee Maryland (IRC) to provide an opportunity for refugees with higher levels of English, extensive education, or work history.

As part of their BACH apprenticeship, participants are paid and work part-time at an area hospital while completing on-the-job training and classroom training provided by Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). The on-the-job training is competency-based, so not every participant is at the same level or moves through at the same speed. The program’s flexibility allows refugees with backgrounds in healthcare to progress through the training more quickly. As apprentices complete a designated set of competencies, they receive wage increases. Once participants complete their apprenticeship the hospital moves them into a full-time position.

The first apprenticeship cohort by BACH was for Environmental Care Supervisors at the renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital. The initial cohort includes four refugees.

The training starts at $15 an hour, with competency completions adding raises, and pay starting at $20.29 an hour for those who complete the program.

A new BACH apprenticeship program for Surgical Technologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center will launch in Spring of 2018. The program will follow a set full-time schedule with twice a week CCBC classroom work and three days in the hospital. Both of these apprenticeship program specialties provide refugees with backgrounds in healthcare an opportunity to re-enter the hospital environment without having to forgo work for school or having to pay tuition.

The BACH program is funded through the U.S. Department of Labor’s ApprenticeshipUSA program through the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.

For those interested in starting a similar program, Janie McDermott, BACH Program Manager for Apprenticeship, suggests that the first step is to find employers that are on board and willing to be fully engaged.week CCBC classroom work and three days in the hospital. Both of these apprenticeship program specialties provide refugees with backgrounds in healthcare an opportunity to re-enter the hospital environment without having to forgo work for school or having to pay tuition.

For more information on BACH contact Janie McDermott at jmcdermott@baltimorealliance.org.

What kind of training or apprenticeship programs do you use for refugees? Share with us at information@higheradvantage.org!

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Support for Refugee and Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley

Immigrants are nearly twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as native-born U.S. citizens[1]. A community initiative in Silicon Valley is now engaging the immigrant and refugee entrepreneurial spirit through a program focused on supporting potential new business founders.

The Pars Equality Center created the Pars Entrepreneurship Program as a response to a forum that it held; where newly-arrived refugees were invited to hear the stories of successful Iranian-Americans. Participants began asking for more tools, mentors, and practical advice on starting businesses.

Just a couple of years after it started, the Pars Entrepreneurship Program has already become wildly popular, shared Ellie Derakhshesh-Clelland, the Senior Director of Social Services at the Pars Equality Center. Shortly after creating an Entrepreneurship Program page on Facebook, the page had more than 3,000 followers. “That by itself is an indication of what a huge need there is for a program like this,” said Ellie.

“We sat down and brainstormed with aspiring entrepreneurs for about three months to find out what their needs were,” said Ellie.

The outcome is that Pars Equality Center now hosts bi-weekly meetings featuring experts and business founders who lead roundtable discussions about particular entrepreneurship topics. Topics range from how to incorporate a company to sales planning and fundraising. The group is currently at capacity, with some 50 refugees and immigrants who have been in the U.S. for 3 – 7 years in regular attendance. In addition, a group of mentors is available for individual questions outside of the larger group meetings. Pars Equality Center staff have been successful in finding subject experts and mentors through their personal networks and LinkedIn searches.

Although the group is diverse in age and professional background, one commonality is that “they all have an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Ellie. “They came to Silicon Valley with the hope of starting their own company.”

Twelve entrepreneurial initiatives, all tech-based, have blossomed since the program began. Participants practiced describing their business concepts at a recent Pitch Day event, where investors and advisors were invited to provide feedback. From there, eight participants were selected to take part in a meeting with a capital venture firm and three vendors. Ellie said that although investors expected young refugees and immigrants would need a lot of guidance, they were “in awe of their talent” and also learned new ideas from the entrepreneurs.

The Pars Equality Center is a community-based social and legal organization that focuses on integration of Iranian-Americans, immigrants and refugees.

Written by Carrie Thiele.

[1] https://hbr.org/2016/10/why-are-immigrants-more-entrepreneurial

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Volunteer Engagement

8 Ways Volunteers Can Support Refugee Employment 

hs-245-laura-1Guest post by Laura Griffin, Program Coordinator for Volunteerism at LIRS 

We all know the feeling of not having enough hours in the day. One way to stretch your ability to serve refugee clients is to make volunteer support a core part of your employment program. 

A few weeks ago, I sat down with dozens of people from refugee employment programs around the country to ask: How do volunteers and interns support your work?

Here are 8 Ways to Leverage Volunteer Support for Refugee Employment:

1. One-on-One Job Readiness Support 

Volunteers can sit down with individual clients to practice for interviews, edit resumes, fill out job applications, and/or practice skills like how to use the computer to search for jobs.

2. Guest Speakers and Experts

Bring in volunteers as guest speakers from relevant fields (like IT) to talk with clients about the skills employers in their industry look for in job applicants.

3. Support for Highly Skilled Clients

Volunteers can provide individualized job readiness and placement assistance to highly skilled refugee clients.

4. Mentoringmentoring

Mentoring can focus on advanced job readiness training or industry-specific mentoring. If you are interested in designing a mentoring program to assist refugees with long-term career planning, see the free LIRS Guide for Employment Mentoring.

5. Assist with Job Development

Volunteers can help establish employer leads through community outreach, targeted calling and online searching. One participant shared that they have volunteers research job opportunities and send initial emails to potential employers to start the conversation.

6. Increase Access to Service

Volunteers can help enable clients to access employment services by providing rides or offering child care during job readiness classes.

7. Career Fairs 

Have volunteers take clients to career fairs and help them follow up with potential job leads

8. Case Support and Service Plans 

While it can seem a bit daunting, many participants shared success stories of having interns and star volunteers manage cases and design service plans.

How do you leverage volunteers and interns?  Leave a comment below or contact us if you use volunteers and interns to support your refugee employment programs.

Related: Additional Employment Volunteer Resources, New Collection of Employment Volunteer Resources

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Informational Interviews

info interviewAn easy-to-understand explanation for you and your clients

Refugee job seekers need to develop networks in the U.S. Informational interviews are an accepted way to build contacts and learn more about their chosen industry here in the U.S.

It sounds good, but what does informational interview really mean and what are practical tips for doing it?

A U.S. news article includes this actual definition of an informational interview and some practical tips that are worth reading. They include how to prepare, what to ask, what NOT to ask and how to follow-up.

What is an informational interview? It refers to an informal conversation between two people, in which one person asks for advice on their career, an industry or a company. The end goal…is to have the person at the company refer them to their employer, but this should not be your expectation; this talk should be seen as an opportunity that could turn into bigger things.

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Interactive Employment Resource Collection

This resource collection is long overdue. To access resources about any of the topics in the below graphic, simply click on the topic!

Please let us know if you have any youth resources to add so we can keep building the collection!

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Webinar: Bridging the Skills Gap With International Talent

Source: www.aei.org

Source: www.aei.org

If you work with highly skilled refugees, you know how challenging it can be to help them find opportunities that utilize their professional skills and lead to a fulfilling career path.

Welcoming Economies Global Network, a project of Welcoming America in partnership with Global Detroit, is presenting a webinar tomorrow from 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST that will highlight the latest resources and strategies for making sure that immigrants’ and refugees’  skills don’t go to waste.

Here is the webinar description from the Welcoming America website:

Bridging the Skills Gap With International Talent

Retirement of baby boomers, low U.S. birth rates, and the shift toward the knowledge economy are leaving many regional economies without the highly-skilled workforce they need to grow and attract business. Modernizing the workforce system to best utilize the talents of all Americans includes considering the talents of immigrant labor — such as those considered highly skilled, holding a four-year college degree or higher. Better integration of international students and underemployed/unemployed immigrants living in the U.S. can address both local labor shortages and create opportunities for individual professionals’ upward mobility and empowerment.

In this webinar, you will gain a basic understanding of the skills gap issue and the opportunities international talent presents. You will learn how to access existing resources for highly-skilled immigrants and take away practical tips that can be implemented locally in the short-term.

Click here to register for this webinar.

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6 Fundamentals to Help Highly Skilled Clients You Might Not Know About

Med Pro Group iStock_000022514360XSmallAlthough archives from a recent LINCS’ Working with Immigrant Professionals webinar are not yet available, Kelly Rice, Employment Program Manager at the International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green heard some valuable new ideas and quickly did two things to follow-up.

She started a Skilled Immigrant and Refugee Resources Working Group on Linkedin that you are welcomed to join.  She also conbuted this blog post with her take on working with highly skilled refugees.  

A job developer’s job is never finished. We are always seeking the best opportunities for our clients, but sometimes they need to get a job quick – what do we do?

Usually, they are placed into an entry-level position until they can find that job upgrade. Many highly skilled or professionally licensed clients are placed in first jobs jobs for which they are over qualified. How do we make it easier for them to find a career path in the same field they pursued before being resettled in the U.S.?

Here are six fundamentals and the strategies I know work from research, webinars and my own experience:

  1. Integrate English language learning with other job readiness preparation
    • “Do they speak English” is the question I am asked most often by employers.
    • Advanced English classes with contextualized content (possibly online?).
    • Integrate English learning with test-taking strategies to assist participants’ career pursuits.
  2. Never underestimate the importance of social capital and social networking
    • Employers use social media, A LOT.
    • Mentorship program with career professionals.
    • Workshops and peer support groups.
    • Professional associations, Linkedin.com, meetup.com, Facebook, Twitter.
  3. Offer career coaching and mock interview preparation
    • Added benefits in professional understanding and increased confidence levels.
    • Mock interviews and feedback sessions (utilizing employer volunteers?).
    • Individual career coaching – use employment mentors who are career professionals.
  4. Utilize soft skills and language inventory
    • GED Programs, Small Business Entrepreneurship Programs or Economic Empowerment Programs are valuable resources.
    • Computer classes are usually available at libraries and career centers.
    • Public Libraries, Community Colleges, Private Language Institutes are key resources.
    • Networking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • Resume vs CV, Cover Letter, References.
    • Professional Portfolio (showcase their work, projects, articles).
  5. Educate stakeholders about the value of immigrant credentials and the importance of credential evaluation
    • Enables educated immigrants and refugees to gain recognition of their credentials and access to opportunities.
    • Helps licensing boards, employers, academic institutions understand qualifications earned outside the U.S.
    • Larger employers and licensing boards usually have formal processes and/or have a preferred credential evaluation service. Know which one is required before spending any money.
    • Many employers are unfamiliar with credential evaluation or skeptical of foreign qualifications – help employers understand the process.
    • Refugees need to proactively “market” their evaluation and highlight their US equivalencies to overcome employer concerns.
  6. Help clients consider alternatives to re-licensure
    • Non-licensed teachers can work in as teachers in private schools, instructors at community colleges, adult education instructors, corporate trainers, etc. Teachers also have opportunities for alternate routes to certification, including fellowships that allow them to license while working.
    • Accountants without a CPA can work in many settings, e.g. bookkeeping, analyzing budgets and costs, etc.
    • Healthcare professionals can consider non-regulated occupations such as medical interpretation or positions in administration, research or community health.
    • Non-licensed engineers or architects can work in technical, advisory and management positions that can have an important impact on engineering projects.
    • Local Technical Colleges can team up to create Certification Programs as an alternative as well.

For example, our local Techical College started a free Certified Production Technician Program. After completing a 12 week course, graduates are guaranteed an interview at an employer in their desired field, which can lead to a significant job upgrade. This is a brand new program. Hopefully by April, we will have good news with some folks who found a great job!

Kelly RiceKelly 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

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Free Webinar: Working with Immigrant Professionals

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 4.28.13 PMJoin the webinar TODAY, Tuesday, January 26, 2016 from 3 – 4:30 PM EST

Register here for  a free interactive webinar on acclimating immigrant professionals to the workplace. Offered by the LINCS Adult English Language Learners Group, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians will share their strategies for serving immigrant professionals.

You’ll learn about ideas, models and strategies to accelerate English language learning and develop workplace skills.

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New Research Identifies Essential Steps for Skilled Immigrants’ Success

cover_steps_for_success_195x250Last December, we informed our readers that World Education Services (WES) and IMPRINT were conducting a survey of college-educated immigrants in 6 U.S. cities (Boston, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia, San Jose and Seattle) and we encouraged you to invite clients to participate. The results are out in Steps to Success: Integrating Immigrant Professionals in the United States.

Based on more than 4,000 responses from college-educated immigrants in the U.S., the report identifies factors that correlate with their successful integration into American life and offers recommendations for communities to better integrate these skilled workers, and take advantage of their many talents.

To give you a brief preview, here are a few of the key findings of the report:

1. Social capital is powerful: The survey showed that there is a remarkably strong correlation between the size of an immigrant’s social network and his or her likelihood of success.

2. English really matters: Across the board, stronger English language skills were correlated with virtually every possible measure of immigrant success.

3. Immigrants take enterprising approaches: Numerous self-improvement strategies were reported, including academic credential evaluation, English language classes, and additional education in the United States.

Take advantage of this cutting edge information as you develop strategies to help highly skilled clients succeed!


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