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Refugee and Immigrant Services

Refugee and Immigrant Services (RIS)

Since 1941 Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) has assisted families and inidviduals fleeing their countries to escape persecution, war or violence. In 2022, we provided refugee and immigrant services to more than 7,150 individuals from more than 48 countries inclduing Cuba, El Salvador, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Haiti, Honduras, and Syria. The largest refugee welcome agency on the East Coast, we have also welcomed more than 4,600 Afghan Allies since the fall of Kabul, and more than 200 Ukrainians since conflict struck their country.  

Our Refugee and Immigrant Services (RIS) program paves the pathway in the D.C. metro area for resettling families and individuals with legal, financial, employment, education, housing, and case management support.

From the welcome, our Good Neighbor and Champions program sets up homes and provides an additional sense of community for new families. Our TEA Club (Training for Employment and Adjustment) brings together women to build community and breakdown barriers to the workforce. Youth mentoring in Maryland and Virginia ensure students feel empowered and supported to reach their greatest potential. Our case managers assist with navigating state and federal agencies to ensure medical insurance, socia security cards, and school enrollment are taken care of. 

Our Employment Services team partners with local employers and volunteers to develop resumes, practice interviews, provide vocational training, and place skills-matched jobs. Thanks to partners, in 2022, LSSNCA initaited more than 760 job placements, and hosted more than 163 job/hiring fair opportunities. We also offer a recertification program that supports eligible program pariticpants as they navigate pathways to return to their professional roles with U.S.-compliant certification. 

Our Employment Services may be available to individuals with the following classifications within five (5) years of arrival or status determination, and with Maryland or Virginia residency:

  • Refugees 
  • Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and persons with APA status 
  • Asylees 
  • Cuban/Haitian Entrants 
  • Victims of Trafficking  
  • Amerasians

Refugees bring significant skills and experiences, however, there is often an underutilization of those skills due to lack of access to fitting employment, certification, and higher education. In addition to our employment and recertification programs, we also worked with University of Maryland, Baltimore County School of Social Work, Texas A&M University, and SUNY Empire State University to research refugee access to higher education. Read our findings here, and view our partners' educational presentations on how to navigate accessing higher education on our Access to Higher Education YouTube channel.