Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.

Employing Refugees in Charlotte

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Employment Staff members are excited for Summer 2016 in Charlotte as new opportunities open up for our clients. It is incredibly challenging moving to a new country and trying to find work. Our employment staff are hard at work making the “Job Search” as manageable and successful as possible for our clients.

Employment Staff conduct Employment Orientations once a month to introduce new clients into the workforce and to introduce our staff members. As needed, they are also provided to those who aren’t new arrivals and even to some clients who have been previously employed. Employment Staff is eager to find new opportunities that fit each client’s unique background. When locating new potential employers, staff members look for quality jobs that will promote continuous success. We want our clients to find jobs that they can be proud of and we are happy to help! Staff members offer assistance in filling out applications, building resumes, locating potential employers, preparing clients for interviews and assistance with onboarding paperwork.

The Employment Staff recently worked with a male Refugee client from Eritrea who exemplifies our client’s determination and desire for success. The Employment Specialist first met with him on March 11, 2016. During this meeting the client received his Orientation, Assessment of his education/work skills and an Employability Plan was developed.  Although he had a Bachelor’s of Arts in Educational Administration and had worked as a school administrator in Eritrea, he did not limit his job search to positions related to his profession and was open to accept any available employment. He has good English ability which was a definite asset in his job search. Additionally, he informed staff that he has experience in plumbing and electrical work from his time spent in Malta. The Employment Specialist suggested and he agreed that the initial focus for employment would be in something related to his plumbing and/or electrical skills. He expressed repeatedly the desire to start working as soon as possible. Also, he was interested in Driving Training. His plan was to obtain a driver’s license and purchase a car. His long term plan was to enroll in training after work. He discussed HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) training and certification with the Employment Specialist.

The client obtained his learner’s permit and was referred for Driving Training within 3 weeks of meeting with the Employment Specialist. The Job Search was started and a Plumber’s Helper position with Gastonia Plumbing and Heating developed. The client applied and was scheduled for an interview. He prepared for the interview by receiving coaching from the Employment Specialist. He was hired on May 9, 2016 with a salary of $13.00 an hour with an excellent benefit package. It includes health benefits, 401K, holiday and vacation. Additionally, he completed the Driving Training and he has obtained his Driver’s License. Currently, he is looking to purchase a vehicle. He is very happy with his job and is ready to start exploring the availability for HVAC training.

As evidenced by this client’s success in his resettlement in the USA, there are many opportunities for Refugees who stay focused on their goals, work with staff and utilize available services. Within three months of first meeting with the Employment Staff he is working, has a driver’s license, looking to purchase a vehicle and exploring training opportunities. As it has been said, USA means “U Start Again.”


by LaShonda McGregor and Leon Shoats
Employment Specialists

Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte © 2014