After carefully reviewing the responses about issues with employment from our focus groups, we recommend the following:
SAWA should create a network of employers in the community who can act as resources for refugees arriving in Greater Hartford. This network should be broken down into two parts:
- The first part will consist of employers or community members who can help the refugees find a job where they are welcomed to practice English. Based on the responses, it is clear that limited use of English in the workplace prohibits many of the participants from accessing higher-paying jobs. A network of employers who work in businesses where English is spoken and are understandable of the English learning curve that refugees face would make an incredible difference.
- The second part of the network should include professionals working in many different fields who would be willing to have conversations about their line of work with refugees interested in their career paths. Some of these professionals may be willing to offer insight as to any advisable training or schooling, the pros and cons about their line of work, as well as expected pay and working hours. Some of these professionals could also be willing to do mock interviews with refugees looking for a job in the same industry.
This type of network would be mutually beneficial for community members, employers, and refugees, whether they are getting their first job in the US or trying to find a career. Many refugees don’t have the social capital as the native-born working population in Greater Hartford. Having a strong, growing network of working professionals and possibly employers could help close this gap.