Alexandra Robert Dede beams as she receives her employment packet from Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Resort. Three months after arriving in the United States as a refugee from Haiti, she was hired for a full time housekeeping position on August 21. More than just a paycheck, this job represents her final step towards self-sufficiency.
Catholic Charities employment specialists worked closely with Robert Dede to prepare her for the opportunity at the Swan and Dolphin. Catholic Charities provides assistance with job counseling, filling out applications, and preparing for interviews.
Catholic Charities of Central Florida helps refugees like Robert Dede who leave their home countries due to political or religious persecution. Arriving in the United States with little to no possessions, no place to live, limited English skill, and often no family or friends, they are welcomed at the airport by Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Services.
For over thirty-five years, Catholic Charities has assisted over 14,000 refugees resettle and begin a new life in Central Florida. Case managers provide cultural orientation and translation services while helping the refugees find a home, obtain basic necessities, and enroll in English classes. They help make the transition to life in America as smooth as possible.
Catholic Charities Refugee Employment Services has a longstanding relationship with the Swan and Dolphin. For almost twenty years refugees have found meaningful work at the resort. They receive health benefits, a fair wage, free meals during their shifts, and opportunities for advancement. In turn, management has benefitted from eager and dedicated employees who typically have a long retention rate.
“They are very passionate and very appreciative of the work,” says human resources recruiter, Cindy Erazo. “They really go above and beyond. It is rewarding for them and rewarding for us. It has been a great partnership for many years.”
Six other Haitian refugees joined Robert Dede to apply for jobs at the Swan and Dolphin. Three of them were hired with her including Josette Desruisseaux, who has been in the United States for eight months. Smiling, they filled out their new employee paperwork with the help of Catholic Charities employment specialists. “I hope to stay here for many years and work my way up. I am very happy!” said Desruisseaux.
To learn more about Catholic Charities’ Comprehensive Refugee Services and how you can help welcome new refugees to Central Florida, visit: www.cflcc.org/refugee/home.