Internship Location: Madison, WI
Organization Type: Nonprofit
Policy Areas: Immigration/resettlement
This summer I was fortunate enough to be given a working position at Jewish Social Services (JSS) as a Reception & Placement Case Manager for refugee resettlement. JSS is a voluntary agency acting under the auspices of HIAS, a non-profit agency that provides placement services for incoming refugees. In my position as a case manager, I worked with clients during their first 90 days in Wisconsin, helping them to get connected to federal and state resources specifically entitled to refugees and asylees. Our main objective was to aid clients acclimate to their new home, foster a support network, and develop a plan towards independence. Within those first 90 days, we can achieve this goal through a detailed plan of enrollment into Medicaid, Foodshare, housing, ESL classes, immigration legal services, employment services, and any additional community programs based on client needs. We helped to assess client needs through frequent contact and the creation of individualized service plans to achieve their personal goals moving towards the future. While the initial resettlement period is short, JSS employees work tirelessly to establish a solid foundation in which our clients can build upon as they transfer into our long-term program known as Refugee Support Services.
The position as JSS has been incredibly beneficial towards my personal and professional development as a MIPA student. Working at JSS enhanced my education through exposure to voices from multiple countries. Hearing refugees discuss their thoughts on culture, work, and life in general brought an invaluable perspective to a story vastly different from my own. Over the summer I was able to identify the similarities between the multiple roles policy makers must carry out and how it connected to my role as a case manager. The position also helped benefit my skill set in terms of transparent communication, teamwork, and adaptation to an unpredictable work environment.