JFS helps refugees find employment to support their families, and jump start their lives and careers in their new country.
Zafa*, a refugee originally from Afghanistan, came to the United States in December 2019 from Turkey. Soon after her arrival, it was clear that she would be responsible for supporting the family. This left Zafa, at 21 years old with a dream of studying at an American university facing the reality of finding employment at the start of a global pandemic. Despite barriers, JFS staff helped her prep for and apply for work at a McDonald’s within walking distance of her home. She not only got this position, but also applied for and got additional part-time work at a Safeway Grocery Store, restocking shelves during a dangerous time for the country. She worked long hours at both jobs, juggling home responsibilities, safety concerns, and a complicated work schedule.
Working at MacDonald’s helped her to support her family throughout the pandemic – further, it’s helped her gain skills and start her career. Zafa was promoted to supervisor for her hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic, just a year after arriving to the US. As a supervisor, she advocated for, hired, and trained several other refugee clients, connecting the refugee community with opportunities for first-time employment.
Zafa was courageous and demonstrated leadership in her new country. Her dream of continuing her education at an American college is also coming true as she will begin classes at a local community college this fall. She has more recently became an employee at a local bank, leveraging her work to continue to pursue her dreams in Western Mass.
JFS believes in each person’s capacity and potential to succeed, contribute and lead. JFS Employment Services helps newly arrived refugees get on their feet and become economically self-sufficient. Staff walk with refugees as they prepare for work, find initial employment and work toward their employment goals. JFS continues to serve refugees seeking employment for five years after their initial arrival.