Partner Profile: Connecting Immigrants to Careers with Heartland Human Care Services

Women Employed
Oct 15, 2019 · 3 min read

For working adults who’ve been out of school for a while, the transition to college can be especially daunting — which is why Women Employed developed the Career Foundations course with the City Colleges of Chicago to help them assess their skills, pinpoint their interests, explore career paths, and craft a plan to get to college. WE also work with community organizations across Chicago who are providing Career Foundations to their clients as part of our Career Foundations Consortium. We are proud to feature the success of one Consortium member, Heartland Human Care Services.

Heartland Human Care Services RICS Program participants tour the St. Jane Hotel as part of their career exploration.
Heartland Human Care Services RICS Program participants tour the St. Jane Hotel as part of their career exploration.
Heartland Human Care Services RICS Program participants tour the St. Jane Hotel as part of their career exploration.

Despite working hard to succeed, many immigrants find their progress blocked by barriers to education, training, and support services. These barriers keep many immigrant families from achieving self-sufficiency and prosperity, which can have broad impacts on families and communities.

The Refugee & Immigrant Community Services (RICS) Program offered by Heartland Human Care Services focuses on refugees, asylees, immigrants, and survivors of trafficking. The RICS Program connects them to education & training programs, employment services, and additional supports that give these families mobility and the opportunity to improve their quality of life. We are excited to report that to-date, over 1,000 refugees and immigrants have been served, mostly originating from Myanmar, Congo, Mexico, and Ukraine and the RICS Program has plans to help many more.

The RICS Program currently offers three training tracks that include Information Technology (IT), Early Childhood Education, and Interpretation. The training focuses on practical application of skills learned, providing a link between the education and working world; and integrates the Career Foundations curriculum, developed by Women Employed.

The most popular of the three training tracks, IT, partners with Google who helps with job placement and conducts interactive tours of their facility. Individuals completing the IT track typically walk away with a starting salary of $60–70K and employment opportunities with companies like Wal-Mart, Sprint, and Exelon. ​

Further closing the skills gap, Heartland has partnered with Tyson Food’s Upward Academy, offers free ESL and GED classes to Tyson employees with limited academic and English skills. Classes are led by adult education and Career Foundations instructors and offered onsite at the plant, before and after shifts, to help address some of the logistical challenges around childcare and transportation. ​

Women Employed is so proud to partner with Heartland Human Care Services. Without their hard work, many of the programs and services provided to the community would not be possible. For additional information on the RICS Program, please contact

Katie Callahan Neginskiy, Vocational and English Language Training Program Manager, RICS at kneginskiy@heartlandalliance.org.


Women Employed logo.
Women Employed logo.

Women Employed relentlessly pursues equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces to make the world a better place for us all. Since 1973, Women Employed has opened doors, broken down barriers, and created fundamental, systemic change. For more information, visit https://womenemployed.org, or follow @WomenEmployed on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Women Employed

Written by

WE relentlessly pursue equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to education, & advocating for fair, inclusive workplaces.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade