[URBANTH-L] CFP: National Conference on Refugee Professional Recertification (East Lansing, MI)

Angela Jancius jancius3022 at comcast.net
Thu Feb 5 09:38:07 EST 2009

Subject: National Conference on Refugee Professional Recertification 
(June 22-24, 2009)

Call for Papers

Building Professional Pathways for New Americans:
The National Conference on Refugee Professional Recertification

Abstracts due March 5, 2009.

Foreign-trained educators, physicians, nurses, engineers and other 
professionals arriving in the United States as refugees find it difficult, 
expensive and time-consuming to obtain the qualifications required to 
practice their profession. They receive limited financial assistance and 
advice from resettlement agencies mandated to help them achieve 
self-sufficiency in only a few months. In a time of economic crisis their 
situation-and the task of those who work with them-is extremely challenging.

RefugeeWorks is the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement's training and 
technical assistance arm for employment and self-sufficiency activities. A 
national conference convened by RefugeeWorks will discuss the many issues 
related to professional retraining, job-seeking and recertification for 
refugees in the United States. Participants will include resettlement 
personnel, refugees, employment specialists, educators, employers and others 
who work with refugee professionals. The conference will take place at the 
Kellogg Center of Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, June 22-24, 

Sessions will cover the following topics:

Post-secondary Retraining Programs
 Community colleges are at the forefront of professional retraining, 
qualifying exam preparation and ESOL instruction for refugees and 
immigrants. Organizers of successful CC and university programs for 
foreign-trained healthcare professionals, teachers and others will discuss 
their initiatives, and refugee professionals will describe their experiences 
in such programs.

Partnerships across Sectors
 No resettlement agency works effectively alone. Government officials, 
advocacy and community organizations, professional associations, educators 
and employers can join forces to help refugee professionals prepare for 
work, obtain credentials and find appropriate jobs in their chosen field.

Policies, Laws and Reforms
 Economic crisis presents opportunities for change. New immigration laws and 
government policies could make life and work easier or more difficult for 
both refugee professionals and resettlement agencies. What changes are under 
consideration, and how likely is their adoption? What role can civic 
organizations play in immigration reform?

Success Stories
 Job developers, program managers and employers can point to success stories 
of refugee professionals who have overcome great obstacles on the road to 
integration in U.S. society. What do these stories have in common, and how 
can they be replicated?

These sessions, each consisting of several 15-minute presentations and 
discussion, will take place on June 22. Work groups will consider follow-up 
actions and report back to the conference on June 23. In addition, 
roundtable discussions will take place June 23 on the following topics: the 
long-term view of integration; what happens between arrival and 
recertification; refugees' professional expectations; cultural orientation; 
the effects of the economic situation; and psychological counseling for 
refugees. Paper presenters are welcome to participate in these groups and 
roundtables. A Michigan-focused job fair for employers and refugee 
professionals will follow in Detroit on June 24.

Individual paper abstracts should be limited to 200 words and sent to Linda 
Rabben, conference organizer (Lrabben at lirs.org), by March 5, 2009. Proposals 
for additional sessions and roundtables, as well as information inquiries, 
should also be sent to Ms. Rabben as soon as possible; please include the 
names and contact information for all confirmed and potential participants.

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