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Thursday 1 December 2022
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SCSD RAP Program Connects Adult Refugees with Education and Support Services

By Staff

 

RAPCatholic Charities and InterFaith Works aid families from the Congo, Cuba, Bhutan, Burma, Somalia and other nations who are in need of refuge in Syracuse.

In addition, in an effort to help families become acclimated to a new culture, SCSD’s Refugee Assistance Program (RAP), enrolls about 600 adult refugees in classes each year, making the district’s assistance program (also known as Bob’s School) one of the foremost providers of adult education in the city.

The refugees receive support services through the school, while also learning to speak English; learning traffic rules; gaining citizenship skills; and job-specific skills, among many other skills, SCSD officials stated.

“Our goal as a district, of course, is to teach kids,” RAP job developer Jasenko Mondom said. “But who feeds the kids? Who provides for them? The adults. So we need to make sure we help educate them, and place them on the road to success, too.”

According to Mondom, many of the refugees are skilled workers who’ve served as doctors or nurses in their home countries.

However, with different licensing requirements in the U.S., the RAP has become like a feeder program—working with employers to see where there is a need for competent workers, as well as with refugees to train them for those specific openings.

“Our employers are so pleased with our clients that they’re always calling us to help fill new openings,” he stated. “The employers get good, reliable workers, the refugees get a good, stable job… it’s a huge benefit for the entire community.”

CenterState CEO’s Work Train Initiative, which was initially created to help train workers for positions in the healthcare and manufacturing industries, has also served as a collaborative for the school, and joined resources with employers throughout the city, working with the RAP and Onondaga Community College’s JOBSplus! Program to help match the unemployed and underemployed with relevant job openings.

Visit http://www.syracusecityschools.com/districtpage.cfm?pageid=4295 for additional information regarding the program.

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