From Displacement to Resettlement - transitioning refugees and immigrants in comm


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The East Bay Refugee Forum, a coalition of service providers and government agencies, Refugee Transitions and Upwardly Global, East Bay Refugee Forum member agencies, provide a glimpse of refugees’ journey to the United States and explore one community’s model to give refugees a common voice and empower them to become contributing members of the community. The presentation includes a brief overview of the distinction between refugees, asylees, and immigrants, as well as the process of resettlement – how and why refugees come to the United States. The presenter highlights the work of Refugee Transitions and Upwardly Global, local non-profit education and employment providers, and shares the story of successfully resettled refugees in the Bay Area. A conversation about ways to get involved and mobilize support for refugees in the community concludes the presentation.

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  • In their home countries, these professionals we leaders: They were engineers, financial advisors, marketing managers, and non-profit leaders In the U.S., they are housecleaners, cab drivers, cashiers, and waitresses
  • Mary You can begin to imagine how this feels for these individuals. They graduate from a top school in their home countries and begin to work their way up the career ladder. This former Upwardly Global jobseeker had a successful journalism career in Mongolia, working her way up from reporter to press office director to on-air news anchor. However after coming to the U.S. as a political asylee, she struggled like so many other immigrant professionals to understand how to get back into her career field. As is typical, she submitted resume after resume and waited…and waited…and waited some more. Until finally her money ran out and she was forced to take a “survival” job as a barista. And suddenly her identity changed from successful journalist well-known for on-air anchoring, to the women who makes your coffee in the morning. This jobseeker found Upwardly Global in 2004 and worked with us to revise her resume, learn interviewing skills, and begin to build a network of professionals in her field. As a result, she landed a position as a production assistant with KPIX. As you can see, she still has some work to do to get back to the position she held in Mongolia. And she has made progress since her placement back in 2004. Typically, getting the job is the hard part of this process. Once on the job, employers recognize what a gold-mine they have and take advantage of the depth of experience our jobseekers bring.
  • So, you have heard these jobseekers stories and about their depth and breadth of experience. It is hard to imagine why it is so difficult 1 million people like this to find jobs. We see two gaps that create this issue: How many of you have found jobs through networking or personal connections? Of course – it is a critical part of our job search process in the U.S. Well, we always say that our jobseekers can bring their skills and experience, but they can’t bring your professionals network. Without access to information and connections in their industries, access to most jobs becomes minimal Secondly, there are many cultural differences that prevent them from successfully competing in a job search (ex. Selling oneself in an interview) On the other hand, there is often a large gap of education and understanding on the employer side. In general, there is often a misperception about who immigrants are (migrant workers or legal and fully work authorized professionals).
  • Often you will be the first American our jobseekers meet who takes them seriously as professionals and with whom they can discuss their profession and industry. Advisors could provide informational interviews over the phone or in person to jobseekers who want to know more about the company or their specific job title. Even if you can commit to one hour a year, we would encourage you to sign up as an advisor. I find that many of our jobseekers are curious about alternative career paths for foreign-licensed attorneys and want to do info. Interviews with legal professionals. . MI interviewers - phone interviews ( talk about how foreign it it for most of our js), one-on-one interviews or at a mi workshop. Mentors also help with writing cover letters, preparing for a job int, salary, dressing for intw and also coach and encourage, helping their mentees to develop self-confidence . Depending upon the situation, a mentor may help the mentee define career goals, practice for a job interview, join a professional organization, or give advice on American-style manners and culture. Our volunteers play a critical role in helping them rebuild a career (and a life!) and in making them feel welcome in a professional community Invite Antonio to share his volunteer experiences in these different areas with UpGlo.
  • From Displacement to Resettlement - transitioning refugees and immigrants in comm

    1. 1. From Displacement to Resettlement: Transitioning Refugees and Immigrants into Communities Olivia Byler, East Bay Refugee Forum Mary Voelbel, Upwardly Global
    2. 2. Refugee , Asylee , or Immigrant : Which one?
    3. 3. Difference Between Refugee, Asylee, & Immigrant <ul><li>Refugee - Flee home because of fear of persecution; identified overseas; brought to the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Asylee - Same as refugee but identified at U.S. port of entry; receive grant of asylum </li></ul><ul><li>Immigrant - Voluntarily (in most cases) come to the U.S. for a variety of reasons including work, study, family reunification, or as Diversity Green Card recipients </li></ul>
    4. 4. Arrival Data <ul><li>In 2009: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>74,602 refugees were admitted to the U.S. Leading countries of nationality included Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>22,119 individuals were granted asylum. Leading countries of nationality included China, Ethiopia, and Haiti. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>463,042 new legal immigrants arrived in the US. In 2009, there were 227,876 legal permanent residents in California. </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Refugee Resettlement History <ul><li>The Refugee Act of 1980 standardized the resettlement services for all refugees admitted to the U.S. This Act incorporates the definition of “refugee” used in the U.N. Protocol, makes provisions for regular flow as well as emergency admission of refugees, and authorizes federal assistance for the resettlement of refugees. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Department of Homeland Security Interview Approval Denial Medical Screening Sponsorship Assurance Cultural Orientation Travel to U.S. Motion to Reconsider OPE (Overseas Processing Entity - usually at refugee camp or Embassy) Resettlement Services
    7. 7. Mission of the U.S. Resettlement Program <ul><li>To assist refugees in achieving economic self-sufficiency in coordination with other refugee services and assistance programs. </li></ul><ul><li>To provide the crucial resources to refugee populations in order to assist them in becoming integrated members of American society. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Funding for the Resettlement Program <ul><li>Two Sources of Funding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM), Department of State = reception and placement services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Department of Health and Human Services = employment services, health services, English language instruction, cash assistance </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. What does the Resettlement Program Provide? <ul><li>Reception at the airport </li></ul><ul><li>Housing assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Employment services </li></ul><ul><li>Educational services </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretation & Translation </li></ul><ul><li>Public benefits assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Case management </li></ul>
    10. 10. Refugees & Asylees are eligible for… <ul><li>Public benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>States’ Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Program (e.g. CalWORKS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>States’ Medicaid program (e.g. MediCal) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refugee Cash & Medical Assistance - 8 month time eligibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food Stamps </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Job search and job placement services </li></ul><ul><li>Case management services </li></ul>
    11. 11. FY 2010 Refugee Arrivals by Region (as of 8/10/10) 30,946 Near East/South Asia 61,875 Total 4,257 L. America/Caribbean 1,303 Europe 15,439 East Asia 9,930 Africa Refugee Arrivals Region of Origin
    12. 12. Refugee Arrivals in California <ul><li>FY 2009 Total = 11,272 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>San Diego County = 4,168 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Los Angeles County = 4,005 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sacramento County = 652 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Santa Clara County = 558 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stanislaus County = 460 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orange County = 447 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>San Francisco County = 254 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alameda County = 243 </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Refugees & Asylees in Alameda County <ul><li>So far in FY 2010, approximately 400 new refugees and asylees arrived in the Alameda County. </li></ul><ul><li>Populations include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bhutanese </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refugees from Burma </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Iraqis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Afghans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vietnamese </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sri-Lankan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smaller numbers from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Russia, Cuba, Somalia, and Iran </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. What challenges do refugees face when they come to the U.S.?
    15. 15. Challenges include… <ul><li>Lack of education </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of English skills </li></ul><ul><li>Unemployment </li></ul><ul><li>Mental health issues </li></ul><ul><li>Health problems, including severe dental problems </li></ul><ul><li>Unfamiliarity with U.S. systems (e.g. transportation, social services, healthcare, schools, banking, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Safety concerns </li></ul><ul><li>In some cases, lack of familiarity with basic amenities (e.g. escalators, toilets, computers, etc) </li></ul>
    16. 17. East Bay Refugee Forum Participants <ul><li>Government Agencies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alameda County Social Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alameda County Public Health Department </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alameda County Refugee Health Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Superior Court of CA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2010 CA Census </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Education Providers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oakland Unified School District </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>College of Alameda </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resettlement Agencies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The International Rescue Committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Catholic Charities of the East Bay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jewish Family & Children’s Services of the East Bay </li></ul></ul>
    17. 18. East Bay Refugee Forum Participants, cont’d <ul><li>Non-Profit Organizations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asian Community Mental Health Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Asian Health Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bay Area Legal Aid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CEO Women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Health for Asian Americans (CHAA) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>East Bay Community Law Center </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refugee Transitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The English Center </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upwardly Global </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Survivors International </li></ul></ul>
    18. 19. East Bay Refugee Forum Participants, cont’d <ul><li>Ethnic Community Based Organizations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>African Advocacy Network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bay Area Immigrant and Refugee Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bhutanese American Community Center </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bhutanese Support Community Organization in America </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Burmese Refugee Family Network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cambodian Community Development, Inc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lao Family Community Development, Inc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tibetan Association of Northern California </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vietnamese Community Development, Inc. </li></ul></ul>
    19. 20. Volunteer Opportunities <ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Business </li></ul><ul><li>Law </li></ul><ul><li>Accounting </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising </li></ul><ul><li>Health </li></ul><ul><li>Social Work </li></ul><ul><li>Administration </li></ul><ul><li>Any skill set! </li></ul>
    20. 21. Refugee Transitions <ul><li>Our mission: </li></ul><ul><li>To assist refugee and </li></ul><ul><li>immigrant families in </li></ul><ul><li>becoming self-sufficient </li></ul><ul><li>in the United States by </li></ul><ul><li>providing services to help </li></ul><ul><li>them attain the English </li></ul><ul><li>language, life, job and </li></ul><ul><li>academic skills they need </li></ul><ul><li>to succeed in their new </li></ul><ul><li>communities. </li></ul><ul><li>Our vision: </li></ul><ul><li>To see refugee and </li></ul><ul><li>immigrant families </li></ul><ul><li>transition successfully </li></ul><ul><li>to American life and </li></ul><ul><li>become full, participating </li></ul><ul><li>members of their new </li></ul><ul><li>communities . </li></ul>
    21. 22. Refugee Transitions’ Programs <ul><li>Since 1990, Refugee Transitions has provided weekly home-based and on-site tutoring and family support for over 3,600 clients from around the world. Our programs have made a significant contribution to their quality of life. </li></ul><ul><li>Adult ESL Civics Education and Orientation Program </li></ul><ul><li>Provides individualized, home-based English as a second language (ESL) and civics education instruction. Teachers also conduct small group classes at schools, family resource centers, and other convenient locations. Trained volunteer tutors and refugee interns support this program. </li></ul>
    22. 23. Refugee Transitions’ Programs, cont’d <ul><li>Bridge-2-Success Refugee Youth Development Program </li></ul><ul><li>Offers individualized home-based tutoring to help youth to develop supportive relationships with adults and peers, succeed academically, and develop leadership skills. Refugee Transitions also runs after-school tutoring programs at San Francisco International High School and Oakland International High School with the help of adult volunteers and peer tutors. </li></ul><ul><li>Family Support Services </li></ul><ul><li>Staff and refugee interns help newly arrived refugees access vital community resources and provide family advocacy for newly arrived refugees. </li></ul>
    23. 24. Refugee Transitions’ Volunteers <ul><li>Refugee Transitions’ greatest resource is its corps of more than 250 dedicated and trained volunteers (including professionals, students, retirees, and refugee leaders). </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteers contribute a combined total of more than 12,500 community service hours each year .  </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to teaching English and computer literacy, volunteers act as an important bridge between families and mainstream resources . </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteers assist in our after-school programs and help refugee and immigrant families access health care, legal aid, employment opportunities , and communicate with children’s teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteers develop the personal, ongoing relationships that newcomer families need to participate more actively in American culture. </li></ul>
    24. 25. Best Practices <ul><li>Refugee Transitions provides ongoing training and </li></ul><ul><li>support for volunteers and refugee leaders to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>meet the individualized needs of our students (e.g., home-based tutoring, family support and leadership development) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>build on the strengths of refugees (multi-lingual, multi-cultural, ability to adapt/migrate) </li></ul></ul>
    25. 26. Get Involved with Refugee Transitions! <ul><li>Refugee Transitions recruits volunteers for our home-based tutoring programs year round , with opportunities in San Francisco, the East Bay and the South Bay . </li></ul><ul><li>For more information about our programs and how to get involved, please visit our website at . </li></ul>
    26. 27. Upwardly Global <ul><li>Our Mission: </li></ul><ul><li>Equip immigrant professionals </li></ul><ul><li>with the skills and resources </li></ul><ul><li>necessary to rebuild their </li></ul><ul><li>careers in the U.S. and to help </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. employers benefit from </li></ul><ul><li>the hidden talent pool of </li></ul><ul><li>immigrant professionals. </li></ul>Our Work: To break down the primary barriers immigrant professional jobseekers face in the U.S. job search. These barriers include a lack of professional networks, unfamiliarity with American job search customs and practices, and employers’ lack of resources and knowledge to evaluate foreign-born professionals.
    27. 28. Did you Know? <ul><li>At any given time in the United States </li></ul><ul><li>there are more than… </li></ul><ul><li>One Million </li></ul><ul><li>work-authorized, college-educated </li></ul><ul><li>immigrant professionals earning less than </li></ul><ul><li>$20,000/year. </li></ul>
    28. 29. Global Leaders = Invisible in US TV News Anchor Mongolia Physician Afghanistan Arts Therapist Brazil Social Worker Kenya Loan Officer, SBA Advisor Belarus Engineer El Salvador Cashier Waitress Nanny Home Health Aide Barista Housecleaner
    29. 30. What Does it Feel Like? 93 BA Career Ladder 04 Production Assistant 93-97 Reporter, Editor, Producer, Journalist of Year 98-99 Director, Press Office 99-01 News Anchor 02-04 Barista
    30. 31. The Resource Gaps <ul><li>Resource gaps for both employers and immigrant professionals keep the immigrant professional talent pool hidden and on the margins of society. </li></ul><ul><li>For Immigrant Professionals </li></ul><ul><li>Lack the networks and mentors </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural differences in the job search process </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of knowledge of industry in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>For Employers </li></ul><ul><li>Misperceptions about immigrant talent </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of experience evaluating foreign education and experience </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty reaching immigrant candidates </li></ul>
    31. 32. Upwardly Global’s Approach <ul><li>Our Core Jobseeker Services training program is a 6-week </li></ul><ul><li>program of weekly workshops that address key components </li></ul><ul><li>of the American job search. </li></ul><ul><li>Workshop topics include: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Orientation to UpGlo & General American Cultural Norms </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing Yourself in the U.S. Job Search </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interviewing Skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Networking Skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Practice Interviewing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Surviving the American Workplace </li></ul></ul></ul>
    32. 33. Upwardly Global’s Employer Network <ul><li>Upglo partners with companies across industries to help them effectively recruit, interview, and integrate immigrant professionals into their workforces.  </li></ul><ul><li>As an Employer Network Partner you receive: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to diverse candidates and ethnic markets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training on the benefits of immigrant talent acquisition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diversity leadership and employee engagement opportunities </li></ul></ul>
    33. 34. Upwardly Global Volunteer Program Networking Connectors: Participate in networking events with jobseekers and help them practice their 30-second pitch and networking skills Connectors: Make introductions and set up small events where potential supporters can hear about our work and meet jobseekers and alumni. Connectors also help with special event planning. Mentors: Work one-on-one with jobseekers on job searching, networking, and interviewing skills Mock Interviewers: Conduct practice interviews and provide feedback to improve interview skills Advisors: Provide Informational Interviews for Upwardly Global jobseekers Volunteering Opportunities
    34. 35. Want to make a difference? <ul><li>Help Create Awareness of UpGlo’s FREE Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Join our Network of Employer Partners </li></ul><ul><li>Become a Upwardly Global Volunteer and Immigrant Professional Mentor </li></ul><ul><li>Attend or Sponsor our 2010 Fundraiser on Angel Island, Saturday, October 2 nd </li></ul><ul><li>Questions: [email_address] </li></ul>
    35. 36. Questions?
    36. 37. What Resources are in Your Neighborhood & Community? <ul><li>For Example: A Family from Bhutan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Father: college-educated, intermediate English skills, professional skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mother: 8 years of school in Bhutan, no English or professional skills; mental health issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Son: 18 years old, completed 8 years of school in refugee camp, low intermediate English skills, learning disabled </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Daughter: 12 years old, completed 6 years of school in refugee camp, low intermediate English skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grandfather: 63 years old, agricultural skills, no English skills, poor dental health </li></ul></ul>
    37. 38. Thank You Olivia Byler East Bay Refuge Forum Coordinator [email_address] .com Mary Voelbel Employer Partner Specialist, Upwardly Global [email_address]