A Full Employment Milestone – U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

By USCRI August 19, 2022

Nine months ago, the United States began a rapid resettlement operation of Afghan evacuees. Since then, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants North Carolina Field Office (USCRI NC) has been able to place all our new Afghan clients who wanted employment into great jobs! And we continue to work with more arrivals.

There were many challenges involved in achieving full employment. Our Afghan clients, like all those who enter the U.S. with refugee status, are immediately given full working rights. For some, this may very well have been their first professional job. Many did not speak or understand English. Despite overwhelming motivation and a hard-working nature, their skillsets must be honed to the economic demands and cultural norms of the U.S.

As we do for all refugees, USCRI NC partnered with potential employers to ease the transition to employment for the wave of Afghan arrivals last winter. We organized recruitment events, provided translation assistance for job orientations, and collaborated to find transportation solutions. Furthermore, all our clients are under the care of dedicated case workers who act as proxy and point of contact. They support each client’s unique path to a self-sufficient life.

This success was only possible with the support and cooperation of multiple employers and community partners.

One such employee partner is Amplio, a national recruiting agency that specifically works with refugee and immigrant populations. As a socially conscious agency, they ensure conditions are safe and that employees receive a livable wage; this has resulted in the average starting wage of our clients being over $16/hour. One of Amplio’s clients is Millennium Print Group, a high-volume professional printing company. Many positions at Millennium are low impact, making them accessible for people of all physical and language abilities. Amplio has also helped arrange shuttle service to transport people to work from areas that are less accessible through Raleigh’s transit system. They are eager to help refugees get on their feet upon arrival to the U.S.

Ali arrived in Raleigh in December 2021 with his family of five and has worked at Millennium since February. He likes the work and says the company provides “a very good environment” where he and his colleagues feel safe and appreciated. Another USCRI NC client has been able to save enough to buy a car and has begun to provide carpools for the new friends he has made.

Pfizer is another partner who is assisting us in placing our Afghan clients in quality jobs. They provide a competitive starting rate with opportunities for advancement, as well as benefits, for new hires. For prospective employees with post-secondary degrees or advanced experience, Pfizer offers more specialized job opportunities, as they have for Nasir, who was recently offered a position as Associate Project Manager because of his language skills and military background.

USCRI NC is grateful to the many area employers who have welcomed refugee and Afghan arrivals into their companies – Anderson Painting, Ashley Christensen Restaurants, Designed for Joy – to name a few. The Triangle area has long been a leader in economic growth and development. Welcoming refugees into our community brings a diverse and determined workforce. This is an excellent match with a meaningful economic impact that will keep North Carolina prosperous into the future.

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