The Chamber Continues Conversations about Refugees in North Dakota
The event looked at the current state of refugees in the state of North Dakota since Lutheran Social Services closed its doors
NORTH DAKOTA (KVRR) — The Chamber’s Eggs and Issues for April focused on the status of refugees in the state.
“To be honest, who doesn’t have a funky name. We all have funky names and yes at the end of the day we do need to realize that we’re all working together to fulfill the greater goal,” Assistant Commissioner for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Anisa Hajimumin said.
The event looked at the current state of refugees in the state of North Dakota since Lutheran Social Services closed its doors.
“Right now at this point, we just testified to Senate yesterday as it relates to the plan, so it’s kind of hot off the press, they haven’t voted on it yet,” North Dakota Executive Director of the Department of Human Services Chris Jones said.
The conversation continues with the plant manager of Cardinal glass industries sharing that some refugees are overly qualified, but aren’t employed.
“She’s like nobody else will hire me and I’m like you have a master’s degree, right? You work at a bank in Burundi. Can you go work at a bank? She was like no, apparently not. I can’t even clean rooms at a hotel,” Plant Manager at Cardinal Glass Industries Mike Arntson said.
Some of the panelists say refugees shouldn’t be turned away because they can’t read applications.
“If there are language challenges, we have to instead of choosing to castaway the challenge right? We have to embrace the challenge because underneath the challenge most times is an awesome teammate,” Arntson said.
And when they do hire refugees, Laetitia Hellerud, a four-time refugee urges businesses to give promotions.
“I go to a place, like different organizations, and see that even those whose hiring refugees, it’s usually at the bottom layer. You go to the mid-management and senior level, you don’t see anybody or very rarely so,” Founder and Principal at Ubuntu Consulting Laetitia Mizero Hellerud said.
At the end of the conference, the panelists say that businesses should give refugees a chance at a job.