By Samuel Youngwood ’21
Out of an office in B’nai Jeshurun synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the Refugee Employment Partnership (REP) is doing invaluable work for some of our nation’s most disadvantaged members. For many refugees, unpredictable circumstances at home have pulled the rug from beneath them, forcing them to flee their native countries and families with the little that they could fit into a suitcase. Trying to obtain refugee status and gain admittance into countries like the United States is a daunting task within itself. However, once these refugees arrive, the journey to achieve the “American Dream” must begin.
After obtaining the authorization to continue their lives in the United States, refugees often find themselves struggling to find work. Education in their home countries rarely satisfies companies’ requirements and refugees’ credentials are often worthless. Men and women who had found success leading businesses and communities in their native countries are often forced to take low paying jobs with little to no long term security.
This is where the Refugee Employment Partnership (REP) steps in. Generally, refugees do not possess the knowledge of business recruitment in the United States. In order to provide economic opportunity, REP volunteers provide refugees with resumes, prepare them for interviews, and work with them to properly use the vast array of technology that lies at their fingertips. These applicants are often extremely qualified and experienced in their fields, oftentimes just as prepared as their American counterparts. As such, the REP volunteers are able to help the refugees piece together their accomplishments into impressive resumes that help them stand out from the masses. REP is further able to provide them with access to its widening network of companies as well as guidance on how to best market themselves to a wide range of potential employers.
Employment is at the forefront of every citizen’s ability to become a welcomed, successful member of society. For anyone, finding work that brings joy and honors accomplishment and expertise can be a daunting and challenging task. For foreigners, that difficulty becomes exponentially greater as they are unfamiliar with the system they are a part of. The guidance and assistance that REP volunteers bring to these talented individuals can be instrumental for these refugees and point them in the direction of success as they attempt to juggle all the challenging aspects of their new lives.
Here is a link to REP’s website for more details on the life-changing work they are doing for New York’s refugee population: https://refugeeemployment.org/