Each arriving refugee receives a one-time grant from the U.S. Government of approximately $900.  (Click here for a short activity challenging you to welcome refugees to live among us based on this limited budget!)  The amount is intentionally limited because resettlement is a public private partnership: arriving refugees aren’t ultimately settling into the government, they’re settling into our neighborhoods.   This means that the community must be involved in welcoming new arrivals for resettlement to be successful.

But the resettlement program
doesn’t rest only on government assistance and community involvement; it also leans heavily on the commitment of arriving refugees to work hard and strive for success.  A cornerstone of the program is early self-sufficiency.  This is evidenced by the emphasis placed on early employment; refugees arrive with a status that makes them immediately employable and they can begin working as quickly as within their first month of arrival.

This past weekend we held an event that reflects both the importance of community involvement in welcoming refugees as they arrive here in the Triangle as well as the resettlement program’s focus on early employment.   On Saturday from 10-1 we hosted a three hour Job Development Training Seminar, inviting clients to come and learn of American workplace culture.  Class included topics such as how to ask if a company is hiring, making a good first impression, filling out a job application, leaving a proper voicemail, and calling in sick.  Our office partnered with Duke University students to make each of these teaching points far more than an overhead projector slide.  After covering basic information on each subject, refugees partnered up with Duke students to introduce themselves, work on their handshake, practice giving out their phone number, fill out job applications, and practice leaving voicemails.

It is encouraging to see refugees so excited to learn and so eager to get out there into the community and work.  Work is a blessing, not a curse; it is a privilege that has been beyond the reach of many of our clients for far too long.  We love undergirding them as they arrive here in the Triangle and delight in witnessing them quickly transition into providing for their families and becoming contributing members of their new communities.
Click here to learn more about the strengths and value refugees can bring to the place of employment.  And get in touch with Ellen, Rebecca, or Gaby if you’d like more information.  Feel free to call us at the office with any questions:  919-680-4310.

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