Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Social Welfare


Irwin Epstein

Committee Members

Martha Bragin

Paul Kurzman

Brenda Phillips

Subject Categories



The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is among nine agencies in the United States that resettles refugees. There are two core national resettlement programs: the State Department's Reception and Placement (R&P and the Health and Human Services' (HHS) Matching Grant (MG). These two programs largely have been designed to accomplish refugee self-sufficiency by way of early employment programming and services. Resettlement agencies, such as the IRC, are now beginning to initiate other program areas aside from early employment such as health and wellness, children and youth, and other concepts of financial literacy and economic empowerment.

This staff self-sufficiency study surveyed IRC field staff, known in this dissertation as "employees," to gain a better understanding of the efficacy and effectiveness of the U.S. resettlement program and as a way to consider more integrative concepts of programs and program evaluation. There is a dearth of empirical research, data, and analysis regarding resettlement programs based in the U.S. and especially in regard to understanding employee perceptions. Therefore, this study is one approach to better understanding, capturing, and tracking (through a database and analysis) meaningful information regarding services provided to refugees in the U.S.

The overall study finding is that IRC employees see self-sufficiency as incorporating early and long-term employment, financial understanding (such as knowing financial management), the ability to advocate for oneself, self-reliance, and non-dependence on government assistance. Further, IRC employees appear to believe in an integrated approach to working with refugees and service provision. Based on the findings from the study and the literature review, the dissertation recommends practice, research, and advocacy to expand the current definition of refugee self-sufficiency, gather more quantifiable information on the current resettlement program, build stronger data tracking and program evaluation, and support program growth. This process has already begun to be embraced at the IRC.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

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