Since September, Molly Dayley and Calvin Huggins have been working on the employment team as interns at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City. The pair work on the employment team, providing job services to participants of the early employment Matching Grant Program, which focuses on helping refugee families become economically independent within 240 days of their arrival in the U.S.
“The vast majority of the job revolves around helping clients learn about work, things like the job market, how to build a resume, apply to jobs, get and keep jobs.” Calvin said. “The ultimate goal of the program is to allow them to be economically self-sufficient.”
Much of the work Calvin and Molly support is focused on revamping Job Club, a four-part workshop series that trains and educates participants about working in Utah. Calvin said while Job Club is great at finding jobs, they aren’t always tailored to past work experience.
To alleviate this gap, Calvin has been working on a career development initiative that would help participants move up in their field or find new fields of work.
Molly said this program would be a great way for people with past work experience to find jobs that better fit their skill set. “While clients might start at an entry-level position here, they may be way overqualified,” Molly said. “People come here as mechanics, engineers, and teachers, so a program that helps them into a career they actually enjoy would be really great.”
Since joining the IRC, both Calvin and Molly said there have been lots of rewarding experiences in their work. The successes of individual participants were one thing Calvin said was especially rewarding.
“It’s a very empowering feeling to be able to provide for yourself and your family,” Calvin said. “Seeing that work and people excited to start working and saving is a great feeling.”
Calvin also said that families often come with big financial goals, such as wanting to buy cars and homes, go back to school or send their kids to school. Molly said it’s been rewarding being able to help families through these steps.
“I think their expectations when they first get here sometimes feel a little low,” Molly said. “But the more you’re able to talk to them and ask them what they’d like to do during their time here, the more excited they get. It’s fun to see them realize the hope and potential there is.”
Molly and Calvin have both been able to take a lot of things out of their internships and have gained valuable skills to take with them to their future work as well as everyday life!
“I find it very humbling, and I think it gives me a greater perspective of a world we don’t see on a daily basis,” Molly said. “The values and the culture they bring is really inspiring and it’s fun to see clients pull their own experiences and cultural background into their work.”
Calvin agreed and added, “Seeing the different values clients come in with, there’s a lot of things we can learn.” Calvin also mentioned the strong sense of family he’s seen with the people he has worked. “They perceive the world differently based on their background, and I think there’s a lot of things we can gain from that.”
Interning for the IRC in Salt Lake City gives current and recently graduated students the chance to have real-world experience in the career path they are interested in. If you or someone you know would be interested in learning more about internship opportunities at the IRC in Salt Lake City, visit Rescue.org/InternSLC to learn more.