By Rachel O’Keefe, Case Management Intern
Over the past couple months I have observed Daily Work’s case management process, participated in resume building and submitting job applications, and learned about resources in the surrounding area. Throughout this time I have gained a better understanding of the barriers that exist for many job seekers.
Around 74% of the people that Daily Work serves are immigrants. As a case manager at Daily Work, I’ve gotten glimpses of just how strenuous and taxing the immigration process can be. Whether people come as refugees, with a visa or a green card, or sponsored by a family member, the process is long and overwhelming. For refugees, I have read reports that state that the average amount of time spent in a refugee camp is 17 years …and less than one percent of all refugees come to the United States.
People emigrate for many different reasons, but to assume that everything falls into place once they arrive here is a major oversight. Throughout their journey, immigrants and refugees have to overcome many hurdles around housing, employment, food, shelter, and more.
Daily Work’s mission states, “We guide and mentor job seekers who desire to be self-supporting by helping them prepare for, find and maintain work that enables them to sustain themselves and their families.” The importance of employment as a step towards stability and success is very evident in what I’ve seen so far at Daily Work.
Employment means food for yourself and for your family. It means a place to stay every night, the ability to be safe and secure and after that stability is reached, it provides the opportunity to contribute to the community that you live in. The importance of all of those things for a healthy, happy, and contented life cannot be understated. For people who have limited English skills, experience difficulty with computers and other technology, and lack adequate transportation, child care, education, and other skills necessary to thrive in the American workforce today; employment can be extremely elusive.
The more I learn about the challenges that many new Americans face the more I see the importance of awareness. Awareness is a necessary step to invoke advocacy and change. Daily Work is just one vital resource in a chain of many others, with the ultimate goal being a society where everyone’s needs are met. I am very excited to be a part of it and I’m already grateful for the lessons the job seekers are teaching me about resilience, hope, and gratitude.
Your continued support of Daily Work is extremely impactful in the way that it produces hope and progress for the job seekers served here. Time in a refugee camp or in the immigration process is filled with waiting, long separations from family, and sometimes, significant struggles to attain even basic needs.
After a journey requiring so much sacrifice it is a gift to be able to meet job seekers with support of any kind and work to ensure that their transition and integration into our local communities is as smooth and welcoming as possible.