The goal of our employment program is to move refugees and immigrants toward self-sufficiency through employment. During program activities such as pre-employment workshops, vocational ESL, and skills training, interactions with World Relief will empower refugees and immigrants to make positive physical, spiritual and social life choices for their future. The Church will be a part of this as volunteers serve alongside WR staff by providing individual ESL tutoring and ESL classes at local churches. The Church will also help refugees and immigrants by using their professional networks to lead refugees toward potential employers and by providing them assistance in the practical aspects of looking for and obtaining employment, thus increasing their likelihood of employment.
Refugees and immigrants are vulnerable in several ways when it comes to employment. Although some are highly skilled and have advanced degrees, many lack English skills (verbal and written), have very little education, and might have no prior work experience due to being persecuted or denied work in the homeland or country of refuge. Other barriers such as transportation, lack of cultural orientation, child care needs, and medical and mental health needs place them at a disadvantage when competing for jobs. For many, their lack of work experience in an industrialized nation places them further at risk for being mistreated and abused by employers. Despite the challenges, almost all refugees are willing to work hard and overcome these barriers. They almost always start in entry level positions and slowly work their way up. Their work ethic has been a blessing to many Mid-Columbia businesses, and we are grateful to the many employers who have given them these opportunities to succeed.