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Innovative Program Helps Refugees Restart Careers

Jul 17, 2015

Blog Post

Rachel Nusbaum, HIAS.org


For many fleeing violence and persecution in their home country, finding a safe, permanent home is priority number one. But it won’t be the last challenge they face.

As many refugees and immigrants learn, it can be difficult to restart your professional life in the United States. Often, doctors, engineers and other highly trained professionals struggle to find work in their fields of expertise, even when that expertise is in high demand.

But a groundbreaking program run by Jewish Family Service of Seattle, who partner with HIAS to help the refugees we resettle acclimate to their new life in the United States, is looking to change all that. They offer career mentorship, networking assistance and resume advice to refugees with professional skills to help them overcome the initial hurdles. The program’s inaugural class of ten includes refugees brought over by HIAS.  

King 5 News in Seattle recently did a segment on this program featuring Abdulnaser Alnaroof, a civil engineer and an Iraqi refugee. You can watch it here.

"We want to ensure that refugees like Abulnaser, who bring with them a high level of education and professional experience, are given the opportunity to live and work to their full potential. Through our mentorship program, highly skilled refugees have access to industry experts and  the ability to expand their professional networks," says Margaret Hinson, director of JFS Seattle's Refugee & Immigrant Service Centers.

 

If you are in the Seattle area and are interested in volunteering as a career mentor, click here for more information.