Refugees Drive to Succeed

Refugees Drive to Succeed

Culture and language barriers prevent many refugees from getting a driver’s license, limiting job options. Refugees need jobs in order to get off the public benefit rolls and begin giving back to our community.

Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc, MAMI has taught a content-based, English-as-a-second language course for driving under the program Refugees Drive to Succeed. The course teaches driving skills and the rules of the road. The goal is for the students to prepare to get their learner’s permit and, ultimately a driver’s license and a job. Our most recent classes have focused on Somalis with low-intermediate English skills. Many of these students will find work or attend vocational classes for the first time, thanks to their new knowledge of driving.

“This project meets an urgent community need,” notes MAMI Executive Director Cornelia Brown, Ph.D. “They want driver’s licenses in order to get jobs. To earn a license in this country, they must overcome more than a language gap. They must also overcome a cultural gap of regulations, technical know-how and skills.”

The program provides driver’s education for up to 30 refugees and includes a six-month tracking component to assess the success of refugees to get jobs and get off public assistance.

To partner with MAMI to offer this course, contact us.