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Economic Empowerment in Sacramento

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Photo: Cohen

For refugees and SIVs resettling in the United States, the path to economic self-sufficiency can be long and complicated. At the IRC in Sacramento, we recognize refugees face many different challenges and we have developed a multi-faceted approach to address the needs of each client on their journey to financial independence.

The IRC assists refugees and SIVs in securing employment upon arrival in the U.S., in addition to supporting them as they advance their careers and move towards achieving their financial goals. Through job training, resume workshops, mock interviews, vocational scholarships, Vocational English as Second Language (VESL) classes, financial education, and other services, we offer refugees the tools they need to succeed in meeting their short and long-term professional and financial goals.

Some of our services:

  • Financial education
  • Job readiness training
  • Vocational training scholarships
  • Computer literacy training
  • Vocational English
  • Sector specific workshops
  • Job placement
  • Professional skills development
  • Career mentoring
  • Employment law and benefits workshops
  • 1:1 Case management
  • Gender equity programming
  • Credit building loans
  • Access to financial products

Our approach

Photo: Cohen

At the IRC in Sacramento we believe in working collaboratively with refugees to assist them in reaching their economic goals. We offer a range of classes and services designed to create pathways toward employment and financial self-sufficiency. To accomplish this, we use a bundled services model to address the holistic needs of each person. Our model integrates workforce development, public benefits assistance, financial education and coaching, and financial products to provide individuals with a solid foundation to secure employment and reach financial stability.

Early Employment

The early employment team assists refugees as soon as they arrive in the United States. An important goal of refugee families’ first few months is to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Our programs take a work-first approach, teaching refugees job readiness skills while they learn how to enter a new workforce and engage in the American financial system.


The Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) program provides weekly, vocationally-focused, English language classes and job search activities for individuals seeking to enter the workforce. Though many refugees are highly skilled in their respective fields, some experience English proficiency as a barrier to employment. VESL’s blended ESL and employment services activities enable individuals to overcome barriers and secure a job in the United States.

Matching Grant

The Matching Grant program works with newly arrived refugee families during their first 6 months in the United States. This program focuses on intensive job-readiness training, resume building, and employment support for the whole family, empowering refugees to achieve swift financial stability.

Career Pathways

Photo: Claudia Taylor

The Career Pathways program works with refugees & SIVs with high English proficiency who currently have a job and now wish to advance their career. Our experts, in conjunction with community and training partners, prepare refugees with the technical knowledge, soft skills, and certifications necessary to transition into higher-skill, higher-wage careers. The IRC also works with employers directly to create connections that are beneficial to both refugees and businesses. The program provides:

  • Advanced career training
  • Assistance in enrolling in technical trainings
  • Administrative support
  • Assistance with scholarship applications in pursuit of continuing education
  • Career coaching and support
  • Job development and placement

Women’s Economic Empowerment

The IRC in Sacramento has identified gender equity has a core focus across programs. The IRC offers women’s-specific employment services and educational opportunities, including:

  • Mommy & Me English as Second Language classes
  • Financial education
  • Smart phone & computer literacy workshops
  • Public transit training
  • Driver’s training education and support

Support Economic Empowerment

Employ refugees

If you have a business in the Sacramento area that would be interested in employing refugees please contact Lucas.Johnson [at] rescue.org for more information.

Become a volunteer

Check out our Volunteer Opportunities to learn about our different positions and how to apply. You can also email VolunteerSacramento [at] rescue.org

Weekend workshops

We host frequent workshops where volunteers and refugees can take a deeper dive into the U.S. culture and economy. Aid refugees in smartphone trainings or support them as they practice their public presentation skills. Email VolunteerSacramento [at] rescue.org to learn more and be added to our mailing list.

Corporate engagement

We have a number of opportunities for businesses to engage meaningfully and directly with refugees. Companies can host visits and workshops, or provide career coaching. For more information on how your company can get involved, check out the IRC in Northern California’s Corporate Engagement page.

Contact Economic Empowerment

Hannah Messick

Economic Empowerment Manager

Hannah.Messick [at] rescue.org

International Rescue Committee

2020 Hurley Way, Suite 420

Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone: +1 (916) 482-0120