Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13’s Community Education program, in partnership with Church World Service and the Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon, is spearheading a program to help refugees find and keep jobs in Lancaster, Lebanon, and Dauphin counties.

The program is funded through a $1.05 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The will provide the partnership $350,000 per year, for three consecutive years, to develop an Employer Engagement Program (EEP) aimed at helping refugees resettle.

The local grant was one of 31 grants awarded nationwide in 2023. ORR, according to a press release, provides “new populations with the opportunity to maximize their potential and critical resources to assist them in becoming integrated members of American society.”

The release further explains that refugees and immigrants “play an increasingly larger role in the region’s workforce, serving on the frontlines during COVID-19 in industries such as healthcare, food service, and childcare.”

“EEP partners will work with employers in Lancaster, Lebanon, and Dauphin counties to create pipelines to jobs and career pathways for the successful hiring and retaining of refugees in their workplaces. The grant will engage employers in maximizing the skills and talents new neighbors bring to the workforce, create opportunities for staff to improve English skills, offer employer-supported training and leadership development, and create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces.”

IU13 Community Education program manager Josh McManness said the grant money “is a tangible opportunity to build partnerships with employers welcoming New Americans to their workplace. … IU13 Community Education and its partners have holistic services to support New Americans in their integration journey.”

Church World Service has plans to help 600 refugees resettle in south-central Pennsylvania this year. To attract and retain talent from among this growing pool, employers have to consider how the workplace welcomes and is aware of cultural differences “that may impact employee retention.”

IU13’s Community Education program provides adult basic education and family literacy services, cultural navigation, and career advising in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. For more information at the program, call (717) 606-1718 or visit them online.

Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Support local journalism.

Cancel anytime.


🌟 Annual

Already a member? Login here

Free news isn’t cheap. If you value the journalism LebTown provides to the community, then help us make it sustainable by becoming a champion of local news. You can unlock additional coverage for the community by supporting our work with a one-time contribution, or joining as a monthly or annual member. You can cancel anytime.


LebTown membership required to comment.

Already a member? Login here

Leave a comment

Your email address will be kept private.