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Requisition ID: req3753

Job Title: Employment Specialist

Sector: Employment

Employment Category: Fixed Term

Employment Type: Full-Time

Location: USA-Oakland, CA

Job Description

IRC Background:  The IRC in Northern California was established in 1975 in response to the needs of the growing refugee population. Over the past 40 years the IRC has resettled nearly 60,000 clients in Northern California. Originally focused on reception and placement the IRC provides a range of services including economic empowerment, immigration, community gardening, and case management for victims of trafficking. IRC’s Economic Empowerment programming focuses on connecting individuals to employment opportunities in an effort to lead them down the path of self-sufficiency. This is accomplished through a combination of employment services, financial education and coaching, and access to public benefits and income supports.

Job Overview: The Employment Specialist supports the Economic Empowerment (EE) department and Reception & Placement (R&P) program in ensuring that clients are accessing the full range of supportive services available to them. The Reception & Placement program receives newly arrived refugees and ensures they receive 90 days of case management to ensure stable housing, access to public benefits, school enrollment, and appropriate medical services. The IRC in Oakland’s Economic Empowerment department provides early employment, financial coaching and career development services to ensure clients achieve self-sufficiency and economic independence.

The Employment Specialist ensures that clients make a smooth transition from the R&P service period to their Employment Services by acting as the main liaison between the R&P team and the EE team. The Employment Specialist provides thorough assessments of client case management needs as they transition from R&P to EE and ensure that those needs and any additional barriers to employment are adequately addressed. This can include ensuring access to public benefits, ensuring appropriate health-related referrals are made, and making sure that clients receive transportation and cultural orientation.

Once enrolled in the EE department, the Employment Specialist supports clients by conducting initial employment assessments and developing corresponding service plans to meet their employment and self-sufficiency goals. The Navigator will work in coordination with the EE team to ensure clients are accessing job readiness training, receiving 1:1 job counselling, and employment retention services. Additionally, the Employment Specialist ensures clients are referring to financial coaching services in a timely manner.

Major Responsibilities: 

Client Services

  • Assist with timely service provision in accordance with the requirements of USRP. This includes reception at the airport, home visits, cultural orientation, enrollment in ESL classes, health care, school enrollments, and other referrals and services.
  • Support with the coordination and the implementation of Cultural Orientation classes, including the managing of volunteer instructors, the development of program curriculum and the assessment of class participants and class facilitation as needed.
  • Assist existing clients with enrolling in income support programs such as PG&E California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Lifeline Assistance phones.
  • Screen clients for additional public benefits they may be eligible for such as CalFresh, WIC, and CalWorks and support clients with the enrollment and follow-up process.

Employment Services

  • Provide intake, assessment, and program orientation to clients eligible for employment services.
  • Develop comprehensive employment plans for each employable adult.
  • Provide job readiness and job search coaching to clients preparing them for the US job market.
  • Provide transportation assistance to job interviews as needed.
  • Assist clients and employers as necessary with post-placement issues and continuing employment needs.
  • Support with developing and maintaining employer partnerships as needed.
  • Train and supervise program interns/volunteers. 

Compliance Documentation

  • Monitor and track client job performance and wage levels.
  • Ensure timely and accurate compliance to all reporting requirements, including database management, case   noting, and file maintenance. 

Team/Office Participation 

  • Participate in all program meetings, staff development activities, and other duties as assigned.
  • Work as part of a team to provide comprehensive strength-based services to IRC clients through coordination of cases and effective communication between team members and departments.
  • Comply with all policies, procedures and protocols of the agency.
  • Training and providing guidance to volunteers recruited to support IRC’s mission.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to:  Economic Empowerment Manager

Position directly supervises: Program Interns

Indirect Reporting: Oakland Site Manager
Other Internal and/or external contacts:

Internal: Position will develop working relationships with internal direct service staff, early employment team and R&P team, and with HQ Technical Advisors on Economic Empowerment;

External:  Position will develop working relationships with other public utilities and public benefits service providers;


Job Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree preferred with an emphasis in Social Work, International Development, Human Services, Psychology, Non-profit Management or an equivalent field of study.
  • Minimum of 2 years of related professional experience.
  • Minimum of 1 year of experience with direct client services and/or case management.
  • Understanding of local job market and growth industries desired.
  • Demonstrated success working and communicating effectively in a multi-cultural environment.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and manage pressure well.
  • Strong understanding of case management principles.
  • Experience with job placement and job readiness training a plus.
  • Very well-organized and excellent reporting skills with attention to detail.
  • Experience managing volunteers and interns preferred.
  • Experience working with refugees and/or low income populations preferred.
  • Self- starter with excellent problem solving skills combined with the proven ability to multi-task, prioritize duties, and manage time effectively.
  • Familiarity with working in a multi-cultural environment.
  • Strong ability to develop and maintain external partnerships.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English; Fluency in additional language relevant to current refugee populations preferred (Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Karen, Burmese, Tigrinya, Amharic). 

Working Environment:  Standard office work environment with regular travel throughout the service delivery area.