Navigating a job search can be hard for anyone. For refugees still adapting to life in a new country, it’s one of the biggest challenges they face. With little knowledge of where to look for jobs or how to apply for them, the process can seem overwhelming.
That’s why HIAS New York has partnered with Accenture to help newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in their search for employment. As part of Accenture’s Day of Service last June, HIAS NY conducted an employment workshop for HIAS clients looking for jobs. Another workshop was held just a few weeks ago, on January 10.
Specifically designed for refugee and immigrant jobseekers, the workshops help clients learn about job websites and applications, interview preparation, and professional etiquette and cultural norms in the United States. Accenture volunteers work one-on-one with HIAS clients to review their resumes and conduct mock interviews, giving jobseekers valuable opportunities to get professional feedback.
Participants have arrived in the U.S. from many different countries, including Russia, Venezuela, Jamaica, Afghanistan, Mali, Indonesia, and Ukraine. Their professional backgrounds are equally diverse, ranging from business marketing and engineering to human resources and interpretation.
Several HIAS clients said their interactions with Accenture volunteers helped build their self-confidence. “I found the whole workshop really inspiring,” said Ahmad*, a former interpreter from Afghanistan. “The interview techniques … and especially the resume review and mock interview practice were really informative and interactive. I now have the confidence to start my journey."
For some volunteers, the workshops have been particularly meaningful because of their own family history and backgrounds. Many are members of the Jewish Employee Resource Group at Accenture and were either directly assisted by HIAS when emigrating to the U.S. or had family or friends whom HIAS helped.
“These workshops have allowed Accenture volunteers to step away from their day-to-day jobs at Accenture and contribute to something meaningful together,” said Daniel Shpilsky, a consultant in the Strategy practice at Accenture and co-lead of the Jewish Employee Resource Group in New York City. “Personally, I have enjoyed seeing how much confidence and enthusiasm we are able to instill in HIAS clients through these workshops.”
Through employee engagement initiatives like Accenture’s, volunteers can provide vital support to refugees and become partners in resettlement and integration services. “The workshops have also allowed for us to grow the reach of our Jewish Employee Resource Group and act as a model for other groups and cities that are interested in developing similar nonprofit partnerships,” Shpilsky said.
Refugees and immigrants are eager to become valued, self-sustaining members of their new communities. Thanks to Accenture’s volunteers, they’re now closer to reaching that goal.
*Pseudonyms used for clients’ protection.