Immigrants face tremendous challenges in providing financial stability for their families. Refugees in the United States typically have four months upon arrival to receive assistance from a caseworker and find employment. Advancement is almost impossible with limited English Skills and this is exacerbated when the immigrant or refugee is older.
With support from the PA Department of Education and the Bureau of ABLE, Project SHINE is collaborating with Temple University's Center for Social Policy and Community Development on a new Workforce Development initiative. This pilot-program engages older immigrant and refugee populations through job preparation and English-language instruction.
Project SHINE recruits, trains and supports student work-study instructors and older adult volunteers responsible for teaching two classes per week.SHINE provides a curriculum that outlines the key areas of the American Workforce. Subject matters include topic strands such as job search, applications, resumes, interviews, and job safety. Instructors engage the learners with activities such as field-trips to local businesses for informational interviews with managers and understand the public transportation system in Philadelphia. These real-life experiences provide the learners with the confidence to navigate the road towards employment.
Over the course of the 2010-2011 pilot program, Project SHINE reached out to 26 adult learners at Nationalities Service Center and the Arab-American Community Development Corporation. Many of the adult learners received jobs during the course of the program and were able to use those experiences to enhance classroom discussion.