SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Many Afghan refugees have already arrived in Utah, with hundreds more set to arrive in the coming months.
Catholic Community Services is hiring interpreters, case workers, refugee health advocates and more in preparation. However, they’re up against a competitive labor market.
Catholic Community Services members said their staffing has been lower in recent years because they weren’t receiving as many refugees. Now, they’re trying to increase their numbers, but they have some niche positions in a pretty competitive labor market — and more people are arriving every day.
“Almost every day we are picking up families from the airport," said Aden Batar, director of migration and refugee services for Catholic Community Services of Utah.
Batar Utah said he is expecting to receive around 750 refugees from Afghanistan, and by the end of next week, at least 100 will have already arrived.
READ MORE: Salt Lake County refugee liaison well equipped to help Afghans adjust to life in Utah
“This week was the busiest week for us,” Batar said.
He added they’re now trying to build up their staff to better assist those arriving. Looking to fill positions for interpreters, medical advocates, job developers and case managers who can speak languages like Dari, Farsi and Pashto.
“Right now, the hiring process is very challenging because our unemployment rate is really low and there are a lot of businesses that are hiring," Batar said. "The market, it’s really tight right now, and we are competing with all the job opening that are out there.”
And while some businesses are offering flashy incentives, that isn’t necessarily an option for an organization like theirs.
“I mean we’re a non-profit as you know” Batar said, “We don’t have all the resources but we are very competitive the positions that we are hiring are very competitive in the market”.
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While there might not be a monetary bonus, Batar said there are benefits.
“I’ve been working here for more than 25 years," he said. "This is the best job that I have ever done in my life. I can go home every day knowing that I have helped someone.”
Mahmood Amiri is also hoping he can help, the same way Catholic Community Services helped him.
“They helped me from the beginning," Amiri said. "They helped me for everything.”
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Amiri came to Utah from Afghanistan last year after receiving a special immigrant visa. He said he speaks several languages and has worked with the Army Corp of Engineers as an interpreter for several years.
Right now, Amiri said he’s helping Catholic Community Service when he isn’t working.
“A lot of Afghan refugees at the airport when they arrive here, their case worker is calling me and I translate it for them,” he said.
Now, Amiri said he is applying to one of the open positions Catholic Community Service is hoping to fill.
“This is a new place for them, new life here, and at least a person should guide them,” Amiri said.
If you’d like to help, or to find more information, visit their website here.