Church World Service Lancaster & Millersville University partner to educate, empower and employ former refugees, immigrants.
LANCASTER, PA – Church World Service Lancaster and Millersville University have long collaborated on ways to support former refugees and newly arrived immigrants. As World Refugee Day approaches on Sunday, June 20, here are a few of the ways the organizations work together to empower newly resettled refugees and immigrants in Lancaster County:
- #Prepared4PA Grant Aims to Educate & Empower Refugees in the Workforce: Millersville University recently secured funding from the PASSHE Foundation to diversify mental health professionals through a partnership with Church World Service, Lancaster County Workforce Development Board, PA CareerLink® of Lancaster County and Literacy & Learning Success (a program of the Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon). The program will expand access to mental health certifications and entry-level mental health careers for immigrants, refugees and bilingual citizens. The goal is to increase the number of diverse mental health professionals and improve access to mental health career pathways and will include mentorship from faculty members at MU’s School of Social Work. Contact is Hope Schmids.
- Using Data to Find Affordable Housing for Refugee Resettlement: Dr. Angela Cuthbert, professor of geography at Millersville University, secured a grant through the University’s Positive Energy Fund to evaluate Lancaster County municipalities for potential refugee resettlement using Geographic Information System mapping. First, Cuthbert and her team map census variables related to socioeconomic and housing characteristics, transportation routes, school district boundaries, churches, health care facilities and more. Second, they collect data on housing rentals in target municipalities to get a snapshot of availability, price, and apartment/house characteristics. Finally, they conduct a survey of churches to determine their interest and capacity to support refugee families. Together, these three components can help the team at Church World Service Lancaster to determine which communities have the capacity to resettle incoming refugees. Additional funding for this research came from a grant from the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and a grant from Community Engagement.
- Global Sustainable Goals Conference: In May, MU’s Office of Community Engagement, Government and Economic Development hosted the Global Goals Conference, which focused on our region’s progress toward the 17 goals set forth by the United Nations to help end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change. The virtual conference featured a panel facilitated by Matt Johnson, refugee community organizer at CWS, titled Workforce Development: Investing in Refugee and Immigrant Talent. MU is committed to making the Sustainable Development Goals an integral aspect of the Millersville experience and supporting the adoption of SDG goals across the region.