The IRC in Atlanta’s staff were honored to attend and speak as part of the 7th annual Women’s Day Summit held by the Georgia Women’s Chamber of Commerce on March 8. Invited by IRC Economic Empowerment Advisory Board Member, Jill Goodrich, who is President and CEO of Georgia Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Career Development Supervisor, Alexis Powers, spoke on a panel about diverse hiring as part of the event.
The Summit included leaders from around the globe including the Consul General of Ireland, UN Ambassadors and Atlanta business leaders. The panel discussed why diversity is important in hiring and how employers can be inclusive of diverse talent, and Alexis specifically addressed the benefits of hiring refugees and immigrants, some of the barriers and misconceptions they face in the job search process and ways employers can address these barriers. “Being committed to diversity means examining the systems in place that disenfranchise minorities and underrepresented populations and taking action where you can, to lessen or eliminate those barriers and obstacles,” Alexis shared with attendees.
The lived experience of IRC clients brings a unique perspective that allows them to contribute to diversity of thought in the workplace. When asked about the benefits of hiring refugees and immigrants, Alexis shared, “We have clients who speak all levels of English, multiple languages, people who were business owners, doctors, lawyers, and diplomats in their home countries. Additionally, according to a study by TENT, refugees tend to stay with the same employer for longer than other hires. 19 of the 26 employers surveyed—73%—reported a higher retention rate for refugees than for other employees. This was consistent across industry sector and across geography.” Alexis added, “Refugee employees are highly likely to know others in their community who are seeking work. Having someone from the community who can vouch for a company by telling others in the community that the company has a welcoming environment is a valuable resource for recruitment.”
Addressing frequent misconceptions around refugees in the workplace, Alexis affirmed, “Refugees are authorized to work, do not require sponsorship, and have many different backgrounds! The commitment really is just to have an open mind, and ideally let people interview.” Closing with advice for employers who are looking to include refugees and immigrants in their hiring pipeline, Alexis shared, “Employers can accept foreign diplomas, ensure their digital job application process is set up to record foreign experience, foreign education and foreign references and is easy to use, be open to on-the-job training opportunities or paid training opportunities, and work with community leaders and organizations like the IRC in Atlanta.”
We are incredibly grateful to Jill Goodrich and the Georgia Women’s Chamber and all of our Economic Empowerment Advisory Board members for their support and commitment towards helping hard-working and diverse international talent to make connections and secure gainful employment with Georgia companies.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Senior Development Manager, Heloise Ahoure, at [email protected] or 678-636-8941.
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