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JVS & JFCS East Bay Launch Career Accelerator Program for Asylum Seekers

August 24, 2023

Three people sitting at a table with pens and paper
JVS and JFCS East Bay have partnered to bring the Job Search Accelerator program to asylum seekers.

This month, JVS and Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay (JFCS East Bay) launched a new program designed to support asylum seekers as they transition into the U.S. workforce. Building on a longstanding partnership between the two organizations and JVS’s successful Job Search Accelerator program, the new initiative provides additional wraparound services that address the unique challenges that immigrants to the U.S. often face in their search for employment. 

“Delivering this program goes back to JVS’s roots and is at the very core of our values as an organization,” said Bekka Rosenbaum, Chief Strategy Officer at JVS. “Recent immigrants and refugees need a holistic set of supports and services, and by partnering with a fantastic organization like JFCS East Bay, we’re providing that more comprehensive support system for participants to advance in their careers.”

Launched in August 2023, the inaugural cohort is composed of 21 individuals who have arrived in the Bay Area from Afghanistan and Ukraine over the past two years. After providing initial services to help participants get settled in the U.S., JFCS East Bay partnered with JVS to offer job training, placement, and search support. Notably, all members in this cohort are pursuing careers in the tech industry and bring a variety of experiences and education from their home countries. In addition to receiving training through the Job Search Accelerator, JVS provides digital literacy and emotional intelligence curriculum to help acclimate program participants to the specific technologies and communications practices used in the U.S. job market. 

This is the latest program developed as part of the longtime partnership between JVS and JFCS. Both organizations hope to grow the program to address specific barriers that refugees, Special Immigrant Visa Process Application individuals, and justice-impacted jobseekers face in their career development. In addition, JVS’s goal is to continue to find partners across California who are working with communities that have historically been excluded from resources that contribute to economic mobility, and to pair their services with our proven job search and career pathway model to give participants the access to opportunities that they deserve. 

“This collaboration adds a powerful dimension to our refugee resettlement services, enabling us to better support our community with a wider range of resources and expertise.” said Fouzia Palyal Azizi, Director of Refugee Services at JFCS East Bay. “Together, we are committed to enhancing the lives of those we serve, fostering resilience, and building a brighter future for all.”

Although the JVS-JFCS East Bay program is new, working with asylum seekers and refugees dates back to JVS’s roots in the San Francisco Bay Area. The organization was founded 50 years ago in 1973 to support recent Jewish immigrants, particularly those fleeing from persecution in the Soviet Union, as they transitioned to their new homes in the U.S. Since then, JVS has grown to offer services to individuals of all faiths and backgrounds, with a focus on providing resources to jobseekers from historically disinvested communities. 

Founded in 1877, JFCS East Bay has played a vital role in welcoming newcomers to the Bay Area. As one of the two primary refugee resettlement organizations in the East Bay, they have extended their commitment to offer essential legal, financial, care management, and mental health services to families, children, and older adults. Today, their mission remains unwavering: to contribute to the resilience of communities, families, and individuals through dedicated advocacy and comprehensive support services across all stages of life.