Refugee Technical Assistance Grantees

Dear Colleague Letter 16-03

Publication Date: March 9, 2016

February 17, 2016

Dear Colleague:

I am pleased to announce that ORR has selected five new grantees for the Refugee Technical Assistance (RTA) program for the grant period FY16 – FY18: Welcoming America, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)/Building Refugee Youth and Children Services (BRYCS), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)/HIGHER. During this new three-year project cycle, ORR seeks to enhance services to refugees by focusing RTA in three areas: 1) development of resources and tools to enhance services to refugees and create opportunities for increased community engagement; 2) creating mechanisms to support the path to refugee economic self-sufficiency, and 3) increase the overall organizational capacity of service providers to meet the needs of incoming refugee populations.

Below are brief descriptions of what each grantee plans to accomplish in the next three years through the RTA program.

Welcoming America:
Welcoming America, a returning grantee, will provide refugee resettlement organizations with tools and support to enhance and sustain their community engagement and public awareness efforts in local communities, deepen their practices and local collaborations, and develop broader support for refugees through a focus on:

  • Building support for refugees with emerging needs identified by ORR;
  • LGBT refugees via collaboration with the Refugee Congress’s new LGBT caucus;
  • Implementation of Refugee Economic Development Projects through the collaboration with local businesses and employers.

BRYCS will support the technical assistance needs of providers serving refugee children, youth, and families through:

  • Expanding the BRYCS website and clearinghouse that thousands in the field have come to rely on for expertise and information exchange;
  • Translating the illustrated parenting handbooks and converting these resources into interactive on-line learning modules, narrated by native speakers in various languages;
  • Bringing together experts in the field of refugee resettlement and social work by developing a Refugee Technical Assistance Bureau (RTAB) to provide both remote and on-site consultations on issues identified by refugee service providers.

IRC will draw on the expertise of its Research, Evaluation and Learning (REL) and Strategy teams to address challenges in monitoring and report writing through their Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Assistance (META) Project.

Activities will include:

  • Disseminating both written and web-based training resources tailored to the needs of refugee service providers on monitoring and evaluation of best practices;
  • Development of data gathering processes for service providers to strengthen their ability to assess and report performance outcomes;
  • Formation of a dedicated working group to identify methods to collect and quantify refugee contributions at the local level.

CLINIC will establish a three-year national citizenship capacity building project, the focus of the project will be to:

  • Increase the number of refugees applying for naturalization;
  • Increase the number of refugee resettlement organizations authorized to provide naturalization assistance to their clients;
  • Build the capacity of refugee resettlement offices and refugee mutual assistance associations (MAAs) nationwide.

LIRS, a returning grantee, will continue their work with Higher, a program of LIRS that will:

  • Deepen resettlement network engagement and strengthen information sharing and peer-driven technical assistance in the field of refugee employment. Strengthen access to Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funded American Job Centers for out-of-school refugee youth (OSY) and for highly skilled refugees through field-tested workforce collaboration strategies and information sharing;
  • Institutionalize employment expertise through the development and promotion of eLearning resources for job readiness preparation and expanded adoption of new approaches to job development.

In addition, based on the critical need for mental health services and linkages to mainstream mental health providers for services to refugees, ORR recently awarded a grant to Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, a long-stranding technical assistance provider to the ORR Survivors of Torture Program.

Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services (GCJFCS):
GCJFCS will assist refugee-serving agencies through trainings and the development of resources (e.g. webinars, online or telephonic consultation, sharing e-resources etc.) that identify and serve refugees experiencing emotional distress and mental health conditions in order to promote wellness, stabilize mental health, and prevent suicide. The focus of this project will be to:

  • Increase in refugee-serving agencies’ service capacity, program quality and sustainability;
  • Development of Wellness Promotion tools and resources; Dissemination of research on refugee mental health treatment best practices.

We are hopeful that our RTA providers will be helpful to the work you do on behalf of refugees and encourage you to contact us directly with specific technical assistance needs. Please visit our website or the RTA providers’ website for updated activities including upcoming webinars. The RTA providers also have individual list serves that we encourage you to join to directly keep abreast of their work and to provide feedback on topics of interest.

For any specific contact information related to the above projects, please contact ORR’s RTA Program Manager, Meg McManus, at:

Bob Carey, Director
Office of Refugee Resettlement

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