State of Utah to help incoming Afghan refugees find work, develop skills

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4)– Now that American troops have been fully removed from Afghanistan, refugees from the war-torn country will be seeking a new life in the United States, including in Utah. Up to 765 Afghan refugees are expected to arrive in Utah next month.

Although officials say that number could fluctuate, the Utah Department of Workforce Services says there are plans in place to meet with refugees to see what kind of jobs they are best qualified for. This group of refugees includes a large number of humanitarian parolees. They were evacuated because of their vulnerabilities but have not yet received refugee or asylee status.

“The Department of Workforce Services in the refugee services office has job developers that can work with this group,” Director of the Refugee Services Office Asha Parekh states.

Officials say this group will be eligible to work in Utah and receive employment assistance.

“Our goal is to understand what is each individual’s English level and what are some potentially good jobs for them,” Parekh says, “What skill sets they bring to the table and how do we help them navigate that”.

One program is through a partnership with Salt Lake Community College to build out job training and short-term job training that provides English support that prepares refugees for employment.

The state says back in 2016, it helped 1,200 refugees and in 2020 the state resettled 472 refugees.
A majority of whom live and work in the Salt Lake Valley.

By October 1, Congress is working to fund $6.4 billion to help states with the resettling process.

Right now, these Afghan refugees set to arrive in Utah are at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan awaiting security screening and medical exams.

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