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World Relief Quad Cities Awarded Grant to Launch Refugee Career Pathways Program



Audrey Garden


Quad Cities, October 13, 2022 – This month, World Relief Quad Cities (WRQC), the only resettlement organization serving Afghan entrants in Western Illinois, was awarded a grant of $725,000 from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to launch a Refugee Career Pathways Program (RCP) aimed at helping Afghan entrants overcome the unique challenges that prevent them from using their professional experience. 

“This is the first individual federal grant our local office has ever received,” said World Relief Quad Cities Executive Director Laura Fontaine. “It’s a major accomplishment, and it truly represents our passion and the high caliber of work our WRQC team puts into everything they do for our families. Our Afghan clients have the skills and training our workforce needs. This grant will allow them to pursue new careers or continue their careers, not just for their own benefit but for the benefit of the community. I thank everyone who supported the application and the work we do throughout our community to resettle refugees. We are so honored.”

The RCP program will provide culturally sensitive and individualized case management to equip Afghan entrants with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed, including career advancement opportunities such as professional certification and technical education. WRQC will also coordinate with its staff members, several of whom are from Afghanistan, to ensure that the program is accommodating of the specific cultural needs of Afghans who resettle in the United States, including Afghan women with career aspirations.

“Career Pathways programming has been something our office has been dreaming of for years now. We have been really successful at getting new refugees employed quickly, but not necessarily into jobs they love, or even like,” said Employment Services Director Grace Fitzpatrick. “To have funding, resources, and time to develop a program that will support Afghans to grow into higher paying, more fulfilling jobs is really exciting. The Afghan community is new in our area, but when they do begin to get into career fields that are meaningful to them, I think we will see more community participation, and the whole QC area will be better for it.”

“To pour hours into building a set of skills, then having to push them to the side for survival – I can only imagine the frustration,” said Grant Writing and Communications Manager Erica Parrigin. “This program is going to enable people to return to their livelihoods, use their skills, use their degrees. People always ask me why I wanted to go into grant writing, and this is it.”

To be listed as a mentor for RCP clients, please contact Beth Conner at WRQC is currently hiring for a Career Pathways Coordinator and Education Specialist. Open positions will be posted at Employers and educational institutions interested in partnering with WRQC may contact Grace Fitzpatrick at

About World Relief

World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that brings sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest problems – disasters, extreme poverty, violence, oppression, and mass displacement. For over 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and community leaders in the U.S. and abroad to bring hope, healing and transformation to the most vulnerable.

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