Nashville’s REACH Program
It is rough to think about leaving our careers to become a dishwasher or a janitor, but everyday refugees face the harsh reality of this new life. To date, in the state of TN, there has been no effort to help this group of people with professional development and positive economic impact. We seek to overcome some of the unique barriers faced by this population of people and help them enter back into the professional workforce.
REACH stands for Refugee Employment and Certification Help. REACH staff and volunteers assist international professionals maneuver the confusing path of recertification and licensure. They also seek internships and employment opportunities for those on the program.
As the American economy is so poor, many wonder why services to refugees are important or needed. Simply, these people are needed to keep the U.S. in a globally competitive market and because they are now part of our community. For every 200 refugees and immigrants that come to Nashville, 99 have professional backgrounds. Almost 50% of immigrants and refugees coming here are skilled! (“The Geography of Immigrant skills: Educational Profiles of Metropolitan Areas.” The Brooklings Institute, June 9 2011)
What we do: 1) Assess and advise, 2) Skill building, and 3) Employment placement.