AmeriCorps VISTA, HIAS-PA/Civic House

Posted by University of Pennsylvania on March 26, 2018

University of Pennsylvania (Civic House & HIAS PA)-PA/NYCC

HIAS Pennsylvania (HIAS PA) has provided legal and social services for immigrants and refugees since 1882 in order to ensure their fair treatment and full integration into American society. Early employment of refugees and their self-sufficiency is an absolutely critical component of this process. While Philadelphia as a city has been welcoming to refugees and immigrants in general, the challenges and barriers to employment can still be significant. Refugees come to the US with a wide range of previous educational and employment experiences, from educated professionals to those who have never had formal employment. HIAS PA has been successfully guiding refugees and asylees through the employment process, but many of these opportunities seem to be in only a few industries like food service and factory work. By creating group workshops and expanding the job mentorship program, the PACC*VISTA will play a critical role enhancing HIAS PA’s capacity to support newly-arrived refugees and asylees as they prepare for, find, and sustain their very first jobs in America. The PACC*VISTA will also play a role in educating Penn students about the issues addressed by HIAS PA, and in engaging students in their work. Pennsylvania/New York Campus Compact VISTAs (PA/NYCC*VISTAs) are part of a VISTA cohort of 40 members placed at higher ed. institutions across PA and NY to build campus-community partnerships. Professional development opportunities, including specialized workshops and retreats, and support to the VISTA cohort will be provided throughout the year of service.

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