Supplemental Employment Services (SES) works in tandem with ACC’s Employment Team to prepare refugee community members for employment, as well as providing support during job placement. In addition to one-on-one appointments, SES offers a job readiness class, called Job Club, four days a week.
Job Club is a flexible training environment where participants grow in their understanding of the American job search process while receiving support as they pursue current job openings. Job Club participants gain confidence to play an active role in their individual job searches and are prepared for greater independence in obtaining employment now and in the future.
Job Club participants are encouraged to treat the class like a practice job, including attending on time every day, signing in, and calling in “sick” when they have appointments or schedule conflicts. In addition to personalized support around considering different job choices, practical job search skills are developed through five units: The Job Search Process, Understanding Resumes, Applications, Interview Success, and Workplace Culture. SES also utilizes a strong volunteer team to accommodate individual needs, such as assistance with completing applications, one-on-one interview preparation, and resume updates.
Number of Job Club Participants (Oct 2014 – Sept 2015): 384
90-day Job Retention Rate: above 85%
A Job Club Participant Finds Success:
After months of unemployment, Ruqiya, a single mother and Somalian refugee, desperately wanted to work, but was frustrated in her job search and didn’t know what else to do. After discussing options at the African Community Center (ACC), arrangements were made for her to attend a combination of one-on-one Supplemental Employment Services (SES) appointments and Job Club to help her learn tools critical for her job search. At first, Ruqiya seriously doubted her capability to communicate effectively. “Before Job Club, I didn’t know how to greet people or give a handshake,” says Ruqiya.
In Somalia, Ruqiya was accustomed to the cultural norm of avoiding direct eye contact. Learning the cultural differences in body language made a big difference in the way Ruqiya presented herself. At SES, she began practicing American body language skills essential for interviews and interactions with potential employers in the community. Ruqiya’s confidence levels increased as she practiced direct eye contact and a strong handshake in Job Club.
Ruqiya gradually warmed up to the idea of taping practice interviews and going out to ask for job applications on her own. After several weeks of learning and preparation at Job Club, Ruqiya started bringing in applications she collected from various businesses. After submitting several applications, Ruqiya received good news: Ross Stores, Inc. wanted to set up an interview. After all of her hard work and practice, Ruqiya was absolutely prepared. She was hired a week later, beaming as she told us about her first day of orientation and having a manager she really likes.
Now Ruqiya is encouraging other unemployed ACC community members. The week after getting hired at Ross, Ruqiya was overheard talking with another community member who just started attending Job Club, encouraging her to stay committed, because “these people will help you.”