Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.

Helping Refugees Find Jobs in Charlotte

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Refugees come to the United States with nothing but the hope of a better future for them and their families. As we welcome them to Charlotte, the first and the major challenge for them is to find a job and to be able to take care of themselves and their families. The employment staff at Catholic Charities Refugee Office assists and guides them in finding employment to become self-sufficient.
The first two years for most refugees can be very difficult. Everything is new for them. The lack of transportation and English skills are big hindrances for becoming b2ap3_thumbnail_iStock_000030465006_Medium.jpgemployed. They go to English language class to improve their language skills. We also train them how to access public transportation to empower them to become more independent.
Within two weeks of their arrival, we meet and talk with them about getting jobs. Their faces light up with hope and happiness when they hear that we will help them find jobs. We also provide them orientation about the job application process, the world of work, keeping jobs, and interview skills to make them ready to compete in the job market.
We have clients from Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Cuba, Somalia and other parts of Africa, and some Eastern European countries. They come with different backgrounds. Some are educated and skilled and some are not. Some speak English and some do not.
They are very hardworking people, quick learners and have good work ethics. In some cases, there is only one person to support the family. Most of them are ready to accept any jobs in the beginning. Most of them prefer to work a 2nd shift job because that leaves the morning free for school meetings, doctor’s appointments, and immunizations for the family. Refugees have to complete their immunizations in order to be eligible for becoming permanent resident after one year of their arrival.
Our clients have stabilized production at warehouse distribution centers in the Charlotte area. We have some employers who have hired trainers because they are bilingual and that leads to more hiring of the refugees who speak same language. Employers have seen the loyalty in our clients and are extremely pleased to be able to give them opportunities to start their lives over here in their new home. It is so amazing and wonderful to see them growing as they continue to live in our city. It is also joyous to see them buying cars, houses and succeeding in the jobs we placed them. Becoming employed totally transforms the life of refugees.

By Hari Chamlagai,
Case Aide for Refugee Employment

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Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte © 2014