Career and Higher Education Experiences of Refugees in the United States: Challenges, Enablers, and Strategies



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The current number of refugees worldwide is the highest it has ever been, reaching 26.6 million in 2021. Following displacement, resuming a regular educational schedule is essential for successful integration into the host community, helping refugees recover from relocation trauma and access better opportunities. Prior studies on education for refugees have concentrated on access to elementary and secondary-based education, with UNHCR estimating that a 23 percent of refugee youngsters have access to quality education. However, access to higher education is far less common, with only 5% of refugees having access in 2020. By 2030, the UNHCR and its stakeholders are dedicated to enrolling 15% of teenage refugees into higher education. We used a qualitative interpretive methodology, and interviewed 2 refugees who were 18 years or older in the United States who earned higher education qualifications and attained employment. We used in depth interviews using Microsoft Teams and a live journey map. Our theme analysis outlined challenges refugees faces in accessing higher education and employment, enablers and personal strategies that helped them overcome the challenges.



Human Resource Development