The Center for Refugee Services continues to work with our refugee clients and Special Immigration Visa (SIV) arrivals on employment opportunities, which are crucial to their integration into life in the United States. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we have adapted some of our procedures since developing the employment network in November 2019.
Under our revised processes, we are posting new and current job openings to the front window of our offices, three times each week.
Many CRS clients have experienced working with U.S. Army-allied forces stationed in Afghanistan. The training developed there has aided them in finding jobs in the trucking and delivery industries. CRS provides study guides for commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements, and at this writing eight of our clients are employed as drivers for Amazon.
Prior to the pandemic restrictions, CRS clients were able to use our computer room to review jobs that require additional certification or additional training. Unfortunately, we are not able to continue that form of assistance at this time, but will continue to work on ideas to assist these job-seekers – particularly those who lack access to computers at home – and share updates as soon as possible.
For those with more limited English skills, we often are able to help secure jobs with cleaning companies – where workers are typically placed with more fluent English-speakers to create a win-win scenario.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began to reshape the economy, new opportunities have been created: Since mid-March, five CRS clients have been hired to work at H-E-B curbside, Wal-Mart curbside and as overnight supply stockers in area stores. As of early June, we also received word from Wal-Mart Marketplace and careers.walmart.comthat their online shopping businesses have increased dramatically, creating a surge of openings for warehouse positions (all three shifts), at respectable hourly rates.
In many cases, many of our female clients have trouble finding part-time work with hours that allow them to care for school-age children (typically, the optimal times are 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday). Donors and supporters who may have connections to Northside Independent Schools (where they are qualified to work with food services) are encouraged to contact our employment coordinator, Manu Parker, with information.
A few of our clients would make a great fit working in a child-care setting. While their English is limited, they are quick learners – and what a great exchange of cultures that opportunity could provide for the children as well as the clients!
Clients usually seek out janitorial positions first, as these jobs are always in demand – and because they are such hard workers, their employers often contact us to commend them. Again, with the coronavirus concerns and cutbacks by many large offices (such as USAA), announcements on any cleaning job openings are greatly appreciated.
Manu Parker has been working with clients by email and phone only since mid-March, but she is still working hard! CRS clients in need of employment can reach her now by filling out our contact form.