This blog post was written by Higher Employment Services Technical Assistance and is included as an archived post on the Switchboard blog.
Though it can be time consuming to bring on volunteers, when volunteers are involved in the resettlement process they can become powerful community advocates on behalf of refugees. Here are a few specific ways you can use volunteers in key program areas.
- Filling out mock job applications with clients: Gather various job applications from employer websites or places of business. Have volunteers practice filling out applications with clients for the jobs that they are interested in. Focus on any English words that may be confusing or new to clients.
- Assisting with Job Readiness training: Volunteers can help teach job readiness class or meet 1-on-1 with clients to review key concepts or help them to prepare for job interviews. Mock interviews with individuals or small groups is a great way to prepare for job interviews.
- Assisting with Transportation: Volunteers can provide transportation for clients searching for jobs nearby or attending job interviews. Once a client accepts a position, volunteers can assist with learning routes to and from a job or assist with arranging transportation if the job requires work at times when public transportation may be inconsistent (e.g. Sundays or night shifts).
- Financial Literacy: Volunteers can help teach financial literacy courses or provide one on one training to clients. This includes helping clients to open a bank account or complete personal budgets.
- Researching available jobs: With a client by their side, have volunteers research employment opportunities near bus lines or within walking distance of the client’s home.
- Recruiting potential employers: Have volunteers tap into their networks – work, church, sports teams, family, etc. – to see if anyone they know is interested in hiring refugees.
- Helping clients maintain employment: Once a client is employed, ask a volunteer to sit down with him/her and review the importance of timeliness, not missing work, appropriate dress and proper work behavior.