WIDER PATTERNS OF CHANGE AS OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW APPROACHES
At COMPASS Partnerships, we have taken on the challenge of designing approaches for people who have limited time to learn English and are unfamiliar with career paths and opportunities, but have a deep desire to gain skills, financial literacy, and further their education. We think about how things worked in communities when our refugee policy was drafted and how things are different today in order to see the wider patterns of change as opportunities for new approaches.
We believe that financial stability depends on having the necessary English for a living wage job that can lead to a career. With financial literacy to plan for the future, refugees can invest in a degree, certificate, vocational training or license in growth industries such as healthcare, transportation, technology, food service, and manufacturing.
What L. told us is that she wants to meet a nice employer who will hire her as a medical assistant and encourage her colleagues to help her advance her English on the job. Y. wants to be automotive technician but can’t get passed the prerequisites while working full time and taking care of his three children in his off time so that his wife can complete her nursing degree.
We work as a team with the individuals like L. and Y. who are living in survival mode, working overtime and still struggling to pay rent, feed families and support family back in their home countries.
- We provide direct support in the form of small grants to subsidize the cost of housing, education and repayment of travel loans so that people can take the risk of pursuing their long-term career vision.
- We collaborate with community partners, employers and local government to design resources and opportunities that support the attainment of education and skills training into living wage career pathways.
- We experiment and prototype tools and resources to manage the business of life that promote long-term well-being.
OUR TEAM BASED PROCESS
“No one wants to be forced into a low-paid job with no prospects, but everyone wants to do something interesting, something we can see as part of a bigger story about our own lives” (Hilary Cottam, Radical Help, 2019: 118).
Our process starts in people’s lives — their lived experience and realities. After spending time working directly with individuals and families who arrived in the U.S. as refugees and listening to their aspirations and challenges within the current system, we are now starting to experiment with new relational approaches rooted in a person’s vision of what they would like their life to be.
The process we have developed creates a space so that people can transform social outcomes and start to shift from short-term survival strategies to long-term potential.
Navigating to a Better Life
COMPASS is pleased to join as a partner in the launch of a pilot Community Mobile Resource Center with the Evanston Public Library, Evanston Community Bank & Trust & Family Focus Evanston.
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