USU Extension Experts Work to Understand Refugee Needs

Refugee NeedsIn order to increase community support for refugees, Utah State University Extension faculty and students conducted a research project last year that examined the needs of the refugee population in Utah.

A team of researchers led by Steve Daniels, USU Extension community development specialist, and Lorien Belton, Utah’s Community-Based Conservation Program coordinator, interviewed refugees as well as employers and service providers who worked closely with refugees.

Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their home country because of violence or fear of persecution. One of the main findings of the needs assessment report was that refugees find it difficult to meet their basic needs and wants due to a lack of understanding of systems such as transportation, health care and education.

“We have complicated systems in the United States, and being a fully functional adult means you have to know how to navigate those systems,” Belton said.

The report then went on to provide numerous recommendations to improve the Utah experience for refugees, such as increasing access to translators and providing financial literacy education.

Belton said this information could be useful to a variety of professionals, such as lawyers or medical personnel, interested in knowing how to connect with and assist the refugees in Utah.

One section of the report provided insight into the opportunities for employers interested in hiring refugees. Belton said many people are unaware that refugees are completely legal to work in the United States.

The report concluded with quotes from refugees about their dreams for their families ten years into the future.

“Their hopes for education, someday buying a home and supporting their families highlights how similar their desires are to the wishes of all Utahns,” Belton said.

The research was funded by the Utah Department of Workforce Services. The report can be found at the website of Logan’s recently formed refugee support organization, Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection, at http://www.cacherefugees.org/refugee-needs.html.


Photo: High school students from refugee backgrounds learn about STEM career opportunities at the annual Refugee Youth Conference, held at Salt Lake Community College last fall. 


 

Writer: Shelby Ruud shelby.ruud@usu.edu
Contact: Lorien Belton lorien.belton@usu.edu
Published on: Apr 01, 2016

Related Articles

Ground-Breaking Ceremony for New USU Extension/Distance Education Building

Ground-Breaking Ceremony for New USU Extension/Distance Education Building

A ground-breaking ceremony celebrating the construction of the new Utah State University Extension and Distance Education building was held on March 22 at the USU Kaysville Education Building.

Read More
USU Extension Co-hosts Entrepreneurial Conference this Fall

USU Extension Co-hosts Entrepreneurial Conference this Fall

Utah State University Extension in Washington County and Outlier Magazine, an online publication for startup businesses and entrepreneurs, host Founders Weekend entrepreneurial conference Sept. 22-24 in St. George's historic downtown Electric Theater.

Read More
USU Extension in Washington County Finds Permanent Home in New Building

USU Extension in Washington County Finds Permanent Home in New Building

After being displaced by a fire in early 2014, Utah State University Extension's new Washington County offices will be located at the Washington County Legacy Park in Hurricane. The new building, named the Grafton Building after an early farming town, consists of 5,956 square feet of office area and 22,165 square feet of exhibit hall. It also includes landscaping that allows for open-air markets and other outdoor use.

Read More