Refugees at Work

MCC Refugee Services provides a rich variety of services to refugees, both those who are new arrivals and those who have lived in Minnesota for some time. One of our core services is employment counseling to help new refugees find their first job in the United States and learn the skills they need to thrive in the workplace.

Our employment counselors shared this story of how a job placement led to a new friendship as well:

Chantal and Renuka might seem an unlikely pair. Chantal is a young, single woman from Congo and Renuka is a Nepali single mom with a young daughter. They live in the same St. Paul apartment building, and both received employment assistance from MCC Refugee Services. Working with their employment counselors at Refugee Services, they both found jobs at the same company in the Southwest metro. Their job counselors realized that they lived in the same building, so they made arrangements for them to carpool to work.

Although the carpool arrangement was a purely practical one to start, it has led to the development of a deep friendship between the two women. Chantal was feeling somewhat isolated and lacked a strong community of her own. Since they began working and riding together, Chantal has found the community she longed for with Renuka and her family and friends. They continue to carpool to work, but also spend a lot of time together outside of work as well. This friendship is even more unique because neither woman speaks English as a first language, but it has become the common language that allows them to communicate with each other.

Their employment counselor reflected that Chantal probably never imagined that she would find her closest friend and community within the Bhutanese-Nepali refugee community, but it has been an unexpected joy and blessing for both women.

Although recent executive orders have caused instability in the arrival of new refugees, we are committed to serving those refugees who have already arrived and are building new lives in Minnesota. We provide not only employment services, but also assistance connecting to health care, social services, and immigration assistance with obtaining Green Cards and US Citizenship. The executive orders suspending resettlement of new refugees will significantly impact our funding, but your donations will help keep our programs strong. Please consider making a financial gift!




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