Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Karen Blanchard

Abstract

Refugees in the United States today have greater access than ever to training programs and specialized service providers who assist with cultural adjustment to the U.S. as well as pre-employment training, job placement and retention services. Service providers develop job opportunities in the local community through partnerships with dedicated employers who see value in hiring new Americans and purpose in collaborating with voluntary agencies to overcome barriers for employees. During the recession there has been greater challenges for employment specialists to find employment for refugee clients and employers have noted some reluctance in hiring employees with low or non-existent English language skills. Once hired, refugees present other types of challenges for supervisors tasked with training these employees with language and cultural barriers.

Lutheran Social Services Refugee and Immigration Services (LSS-SW) program in Phoenix, Arizona is a voluntary refugee resettlement agency providing employment services and training programs to assist with job placement and retention. This inquiry sought to determine ways LSS-SW staff might collaborate with potential employers to increase the number of refugee clients hired while maintaining job retention for hires. The inquiry also sought to better understand the experiences of employers to determine improved training for employees, as well as what industries are hiring locally during the recession. Employers were asked to assess their own needs for training, whether or not there was a presence of discrimination for refugees in their companies and about the misconceptions of supervisors and non-refugee co-workers. Eleven employers who currently employ refugee clients from the agency as well as three employment specialists were interviewed as a part of this inquiry.

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | International and Comparative Education | Other Education | Work, Economy and Organizations