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IRC visits Ellis Island!

New York City offers so many wonderful experiences, it can be overwhelming for visitors of all kinds to navigate so many options. Thanks to a valued partnership with TripAdvisor, the IRC in NY can offer ease of access to some of New York City's most iconic sites and events for refugee clients still acclimating to the bustling city. This month, the IRC in NY's Career Development Program (CDP) hosted clients on a field trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, treasured pieces of New York's immigrant history. 

Career Development Program participants visited Ellis Island through a partnership with TripAdvisor.

Photo: Victor Jose Ramirez Araujo/IRC.

CDP hosted this field trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on Friday May 31th, 2019. Including the students and staff, 18 participants including 16 clients (6 kids) and 2 staff members visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Trip attendees represented the following countries: Venezuela, Columbia, Guinea, Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, China, Pakistan and U.S. 

The goal of CDP is to offer the clients short-term vocational trainings that can provide them some skillset which can lead to career development. CDP students from different training cohorts joined together for the excursion. This trip consisted of CDP’s Microsoft Office Suite (MOS) training cohort and Providing Opportunities for Women's Economic Resilience (POWER) training cohorts. The POWER program, generously supported by the Kate Spade Foundation, offers Interpretation, Childcare and Food and Agriculture in-house trainings for immigrant women to advance towards economic autonomy and self-sufficiency in growing business sectors. The Microsoft Office certification training was held in two parts. Part one was a weeklong in-house basic computer literacy training at IRC. Afterwards the students were referred to an external partner (SUNY ATTAIN Lab GMHC) for a four week long Microsoft Office Specialist Certification. During these four weeks, the students also came to IRC on every Friday for job readiness, resume update and financial literacy workshops. At the end of all CDP trainings, the students received a participation certificate from IRC.

The Statue of Liberty is a powerful reminder of New York's embrace of immigrants, and was a highlight of the trip.

Photo: Victor Jose Ramirez Araujo/IRC.

The students in the CDP programs  join the programs to improve their knowledge and skills for career development. All students found the entire trainings very helpful. Although the trainings are over, still the students are receiving IRC services in the form of job referrals, career counselling, and interview preparations and in some cases, referrals to other more advanced vocational trainings. POWER cohorts continue throughout the year, and new clients will access CDP programs to ensure a growing community of competitively trained immigrant job applicants.

All students and their children really enjoyed the trip. None of the students had visited the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island before, so they all were very excited about the trip. One of the clients really thanked IRC for arranging such field trips. She mentioned that she doesn’t have friends or family in NYC. In her daily routine, she just goes to work, but thanks to IRC for arranging field trips which give her a chance to enjoy NYC life. The IRC is very thankful for TripAdvisor's partnership to not only explore New York, but to also foster a sense of community within the IRC.

To support the Economic Empowerment Program at the IRC in NY, click here. Given these students' strengthened computer skills to perform administrative duties in an office, readers can support these students by becoming employment partners and hiring them for administrative assistant jobs. Please contact Maria Sigalas at Maria.Sigalas [at] rescue.org for more information.

Ellis Island celebrates New York's unique history as a community of immigrants.

Photo: Victor Jose Ramirez Araujo/IRC.