The IRC was founded at the behest of Albert Einstein in 1933 to assist people fleeing from persecution. Since then, the IRC has grown and works all over the world providing humanitarian support. In the United States, the IRC is one of 9 US refugee resettlement agencies given permission from the federal government to resettle refugees in the United States. In Silver Spring, the IRC works with refugees the moment they step off the plane to help them get situated and become self-sufficient members of their new community.
Inters are a major part of the IRC. IRC internships give interns the opportunity to work directly with refugees to teach them or help them accomplish tasks needed to live successfully in the US. Each semester (fall, spring, and summer) we work to recruit 30-40 interns to get hands-on experience in refugee resettlement. They offer 15 unique internships that offer a wide variety of opportunities to develop different skills and gain experience including:
- Anti-Trafficking/Intensive Case Management: This program provides case management services to the IRC’s most vulnerable clients including international survivors of trafficking living locally. Clients are referred to Intensive Case Management when they have extra barriers to self-sufficiency (typically medical conditions and pre-literacy). The ICM program helps them to overcome these challenges. Depending on number of active clients, internship may be heavier sided on case management work or community outreach.
- Asylee Casework: The Asylee Casework team is the first point of contact for asylee clients. Caseworkers provide 8 months of case management to asylees. The services include providing monthly cash assistance, ensuring that clients apply for public benefits such medicaid, food stamps, ensuring that clients apply for social security and enroll in health insurance and ESL classes.
- Career Development: Refugees are often required to accept the first available job they get offered. This means that many refugees with professional experience take jobs outside of their previous field of work. The Career Development Program helps them re-enter their previous field of work. Since these are more advanced positions, staff and interns provide advanced job readiness trainings and teach skills geared towards acquiring positions in mid-level and up jobs.
- Community Engagement: The aim of community engagement is to establish strong, mutually beneficial connections between the community and the IRC in Silver Spring order to garner monetary, in-kind and volunteer resources for refugee clients.
- Cultural Orientation: Teach classes to refugees on topics including, US Laws and customs, geography, healthcare, currency, history, etc. Classes are catered to discuss issues relevant to those attending.
- Economic Empowerment: The Economic Empowerment program assists refugees to become economically self-sufficient by providing workforce development. We assist recently arrived refugees to acquire their first job. Through this position you will be teaching our refugee and asylee clients skills and cultural practices that will help them to obtain and hold employment as well as budgeting and US laws.
- Employment Coordination: The Employment Coordination Program is designed to enable employable humanitarian immigrants receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to achieve economic self-sufficiency through engagement in work participation activities including volunteering, internship procurement, vocational English as a second language classes, and referrals to certificate-bearing professional development courses. The program specializes in providing holistic services to large families.
- Family Mentor: The Family Mentor Program focuses on helping newly arrived refugees feel more at home by connecting them to mentors from the local community. Mentors help refugees practice English, socialize with others, and integrate into the community through weekly visits. The Family Mentor team provides support for mentors during their six-month commitment and monitors the refugee family’s improvement throughout the program.
- Gender Equity: IRC programming assists refugees to become economically self-sufficient and supports acclimatization within the United States by providing access to casework services. All IRC service provision is provided through the lens of Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI). This role will support the IRC’s Gender Equality work, cross-cutting programmatically and departmentally to support the administration of equitable services and the proper consideration of gender concerns in programmatic and departmental initiatives.
- Immigration: This program’s primary responsibilities include helping immigrants obtain Permanent Residence Status, Citizenship, and family reunification. Many IRC immigration interns go on to pursue law school citing the internship as inspiration and good experience.
- Intake-Outreach/Q&A: The Intake-Outreach Q&A program is the first point of contact to all “walk-in” clients that visit the IRC in Silver Spring. We provide fast track enrollment in public benefits and referrals to internal and/or external resources and programs as needed. We are part of the casework team and ensure “No visitor will walk out empty handed”.
- Logistics and Casework: The logistics department is responsible for finding and setting up all apartments prior to a refugee family’s arrival. They work with community partners, US ties, and IRC staff to set up apartments and schedule the airport pickup schedule. Internship also includes responsibilities of the Refugee Casework internship.
- Refugee Casework: This department oversees the core programing of refugee resettlement. Casework interns teach refugees how to use the bus, take clients to social security, help enroll children in school, and meet with refugees in the office to talk about the challenges they are facing.
- Youth Casework: The Youth Casework Team enrolls students in IRC Youth Programs and into the school system, provides school aged students with individual case management support and works to address challenges identified by our clients and help them towards self-sufficiency.
- Youth Development: The IRC’s Youth Development Program works to support the integration of recently arrived refugees and asylees who are middle and high school aged students. Students participate in IRC’s after school programs, Saturday Learning Series, Career and College Discovery, Leadership Council, community service projects, field trips, employment workshops, and a Summer Academy, each designed to address challenges identified by our clients.
Most internships require a minimum of 15 to 20 hours per week. However, interns who can dedicate more time (~35 hours a week) will get the most out of their experience as it will give them the opportunity to take on more responsibilities and projects.
All selected interns will need to undergo and clear a background check and reference check to intern. The IRC is not able to sponsor visas. Students who hold a US visa will need to coordinate with the Volunteer Coordinator to determine if they are eligible to intern. A common visa type that we host are F1 visas with OPT or CPT.
All internships are unpaid. For information on scholarship opportunities, contact the Silver Spring intern coordinator at Kyle.Monsees@Rescue.org. Some full time summer internships may be eligible for the Career Center Internship Grant, for which applications become available in the spring. Applications require a resume, cover letter, and list of three references.
To view opportunities and apply, visit https://rescue.csod.com/ats/careersite/search.aspx?site=1&c=rescue Applications require a resume, cover letter, and list of three references.
IRC Silver Spring is operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Spring 2022 interns will be remote.