The COVID-19 pandemic has caused profound disruption across the globe, including in the U.S., which in late March became the country with the highest number of confirmed cases. The crisis is exacerbating existing economic and social inequality for many refugee and immigrant populations and their communities.
The COVID-19 crisis is having a profound impact on the way we live and work. During this time, many service providers are working remotely to provide job readiness training to clients in addition to helping some clients apply for unemployment insurance and other benefits. But what about job development? Should you be helping clients obtain employment during this time, and if so, what does job development look right now?
World Refugee Day has always been a moment to recognize and amplify the experiences of refugees from around the world. As we prepare to observe World Refugee Day in the midst of a global pandemic, Switchboard is particularly grateful for the courage and resilience of refugees in the United States who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.
Refugee service providers are used to putting clients first, working long hours, and moving mountains to meet clients’ needs, no matter how difficult. This work is unique: we are entrusted with helping people who have experienced significant hardship and trauma as they rebuild their lives in a new country. Because our work is unique, our organizations have a unique role in supporting us.
In the shift to virtual services, including home-based learning, many clients are learning how to use videoconferencing platforms like Zoom for the first time. School districts are using a wide range of these programs to communicate with students and families, while refugee service providers are leveraging them in the course of virtual case management, English language classes, job readiness training, etc.
It can be difficult to find multilingual tutorials on using these platforms. The following videos and other materials may be helpful.
As the coronavirus pandemic redefines “normal,” many people are experiencing more symptoms of emotional distress. For most of us, seeing some of these signs some of the time isn’t too concerning. It’s when we begin to feel this way most of the time that it can become alarming. Learning to recognize signs of emotional distress in ourselves or our loved ones is one step towards beginning to cope.
While some of our clients have experienced difficult layoffs or furloughs, others are continuing to serve our communities through their daily work. Essential workers range from child care providers and healthcare professionals to grocery store staff and meatpacking employees. How can we support the wellbeing of clients who must work?
When a busy human services operation providing critical support to vulnerable people is forced to immediately suspend face-to-face interactions, the sudden transition to remote work is not easy. Staff miss their work spaces, their clients, and each other. Program participants can no longer walk in for assistance, and quick questions that could have been easily answered now require an email or a pre-scheduled phone call. But as difficult as things may be, it is important to remember that it is still possible to provide support to clients.
People in helping professions are being challenged in numerous personal and professional ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. Service providers are supporting clients who may be in crisis due to employment, childcare or healthcare needs. At the same time, we ourselves may be in crisis for similar reasons. The challenge of caring for and being concerned about family and friends, as well as clients, is leading to extreme stress in many helping professionals.
For many providers continuing to serve non-English-speaking clients during the COVID-19 pandemic, language access is a significant challenge. Videoconferencing technology, although far from perfect, can help us provide services without losing all of the human-to-human contact that typically facilitates communication. Below are a few tips for getting started with video remote interpreting (VRI). Choosing the …