Creating Pathways to Meaningful Employment for Refugee Students

SNHU GEM student and mentor sitting at desk discussing

A new report from the Center for Global Development underscores the importance of strong education-to-workforce pathways for refugees.

Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM) believes that every student, regardless of their circumstance, deserves access to education and meaningful work. 

“Access to and rights within the labor market are important to refugees, enabling them to support themselves and their families, build their skills, and contribute to their host country during periods of displacement,” explains the Center for Global Development (CGD) in their recent 2022 Global Refugee Work Rights Report. The report surveyed refugees’ work rights across 51 countries that host 87% of the world’s refugees, and found that every country imposes some restrictions on refugee work access, and many refugees still face significant legal or practical barriers  that prevent them from full participation in the labor market in their host countries.

Recognizing the barriers that displaced learners face obtaining higher education and accessing employment, SNHU GEM is committed to preparing students not only for graduation, but for meaningful employment opportunities whether in their host country, or in the global job market. In the five countries where SNHU GEM currently operates across Africa and the Middle East, we partner with existing in-country organizations to provide vital wrap-around services including academic coaching, internships, skills training, individualized coaching, and career counseling.

Equipped with their U.S.-accredited university degrees and practical work experience and job skills, SNHU GEM alumni graduate with more options and choices to determine their futures. In the words of Walter George Musumb, a recent graduate from our program in South Africa: “I can go on and open my own company, I can study. I feel like I am very free now. I can do anything I want to do.” SNHU GEM alumni have great success in finding employment. 88% of our graduates are employed within six months of graduation. Many alumni go on to attend graduate school, create and run their own business, and find career opportunities in their host communities and around the globe.

Still, the 2022 Global Refugee Work Rights Report reveals how much work remains. “The full benefits of refugees’ work rights will only be achieved if refugees can work without sector or geographic limits, move freely, and enjoy robust protections both in law and in practice,” concludes the Center for Global Development.

Read the 2022 Center for Global Development report on refugees’ work rights here.