Webinar: Equipping Refugees with Skills for the Workforce

The Office of Family Assistance and the Office of Refugee Resettlement conducted an interactive video webinar on Equipping Refugees with Skills for the Workforce on September 30, 2015 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. EDT. This free webinar highlighted how refugee agencies and workforce partners are partnering with employers to provide employment as well as offering English and other skill-building opportunities. Speakers discussed several employer strategies and approaches that are working with TANF and workforce partners to provide employment and skill building opportunities for refugees. One program included information on how they provide higher skilled refugees with bachelors’ degrees and professional work experience with more functional and advanced English language skills so they can re-explore their previous career pathways (typically engineers, doctors, accountants, and teachers in their home countries). Presenters shared how their programs and organizations recruit refugees and help navigate and access employment, career pathways, and credentialing and re-entering their previous career opportunities.

Speakers included:
1. Lorel Donaghey, Program Manager, Higher, a project of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
2. Sarah K. Peterson, Chief – State Refugee Coordinator, Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) (Washington)
3. Mollie Murphy Dale, Refugee Contract Analyst, Utah Department of Workforce Services
4. Mark Priddy, Full Circle Exchange in Boise, Idaho
5. Gina Finley, Senior Employment Associate, Global Talent Idaho