Date of Award

Spring 1998

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Walter F. Brautigan

Second Advisor

Betsy Ann Balzano

Third Advisor

Patricia E. Baker


Refugees face many hardships in adapting to life in new countries, including lack of familiarity with job markets, difficulties with cultural assimilation, and xenophobic resistance from locals. Monroe County and the City of Rochester in New York State have a significant refugee population who are required to quickly overcome stress-related trauma, obtain basic necessities, become proficient in English, learn new cultures, and obtain gainful employment. The author focuses their study on the path to employment for new refugees. Numerous Rochester-based support agencies are discussed and interviews were conducted with those directly involved in getting adult refugee students from school to work. The author also enrolled in an evening nursing assistant class which allowed for observation of the school-to-work transition at a personal level. A contextualized curriculum was developed and used with students whose case studies are included in the study. To assist refugees in becoming self-sufficient, the author recommends developing a housing community to receive incoming refugees, lobbying to provide public transportation routes from heavily populated immigrant communities to adult learning centers and shopping areas, establishing weekend English classes for those who work during the week, job counseling based around the refugee’s pre-existing knowledge and skills, and the creation of voluntary mentoring programs in which established refugees can assist new arrivals.