Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Partners with World Relief To Help Prepare Refugees for the Workforce

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Partners with World Relief To Help Prepare Refugees for the Workforce

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#WRDA & @hmhco help http://3bl.me/3m2yeg prepare refugees for transitioning into the workforce #CSR


This article below appeared in World Relief DuPage /Aurora's newsletter and website in a special feature on community partnerships.

Monday, July 22, 2013 - 11:00am

CAMPAIGN: Community Investment

CONTENT: Article

A partnership between WRDA and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt [HMH] began when an employee shared her passion for serving refugees. Armed with an idea, Patricia Schultz, Volunteerism Lead at HMH in Geneva, reached-out to the World Relief office in Aurora to organize a volunteer day for her colleagues.

HMH, a global learning company and publishing house, created a Community Investment Council [CIC] in 2012 as a way for employees to give back to the local community.  Today, HMH employees carry out the company’s mission of social responsibility through three pillars— Giving a voice to education stakeholders; Promoting access to ideas; and Removing Barriers to learning and lifelong success.

Encouraged by their day of service, which consisted of tutoring ESL students and conducting mock job interviews for the Job Training class, the HMH team asked, “Is there something more that we can do?”  As a result, a one day partnership blossomed into an initiative that helps prepare WRDA clients for the American workforce.

Because many WRDA clients land their first job in a warehouse setting, last February WRDA clients were invited to take a hands-on tour of the HMH warehouse in Geneva and participate in mock interviews.  Both the tour and the interviews served as a tangible learning tool and a way for WRDA clients to gage how much English they will need in a work environment.

According to Heather Davis, Education Volunteer Coordinator and ESL Instructor in Aurora, being able to take clients to HMH for a mock interview, instead of conducting them during class time, is significant.

“Although it was not a real interview, being in an actual work setting gives clients a better idea of what to expect when they go interview for that first job,” said Davis.

Another tangible benefit from a partnership with HMH is the encouragement WRDA teachers receive.

“The HMH employees’ passion for education and literacy inspires us all,” said Liz Clinton, Education Manager/Aurora.  Furthermore, Clinton is grateful for the example set by HMH because their outreach to WRDA clients is a form of advocacy in the community.

In a like manner, HMH employees have also benefited from the partnership.  Patricia Schultz has noticed a new compassion and appreciation amongst the HMH volunteers.  “As they realize the challenges refugees face day- to- day, the passion for working with refugees grows,” said Schultz.   In fact, two WRDA clients were hired to work at HMH as a direct result of their mock interview with a hiring supervisor.

With regard to the future, both Clinton and Davis would like to take a group of clients to HMH at least once a quarter, beginning this fall, and HMH would like to see the partnership grow too.  The company believes that the mission of World Relief fits perfectly into their CIC initiatives—especially the pillars of promoting access and removing barriers to learning.

Read the original article in the World Relief newsletter and website.


Emma Doherty
+1 (617) 351-5473
Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Aurora | Diversity & Human Resources | Education | HMH | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | World Relief Dupage | job readiness | refugees | volunteerism

CAMPAIGN: Community Investment

CONTENT: Article