RAIN (Refugee & Immigrant Navigation)

The project in brief

The project is implemented by SEMCA (Southeast Michigan Community Alliance) in Michigan (USA). It began in May 2017 and is ongoing. 

We at SEMCA understand that the refugee and immigrant population need help to make the transition to their new community, here in Michigan USA, as smooth as possible by supporting them in overcoming language and cultural barriers and connecting them with resources to help them get acclimated, employed, and settled in their new home.

The intent of the Refugee and Immigrant Navigator RAIN is to assist all work-authorized immigrants, and refugees with overcoming language barriers, lack of a documented educational and employment history, and other barriers to employment, integration, and their successful integration into Michigan’s economy.

For this, several elements facilitated the implementation of the project: 

  • Federal and State funds (The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, Public Law 113-128 (29 United States Code Section 3101, et. seq.)
  • Refugee Settlement Program
  • Federal Register 45 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 400 and 401

Main activities of the Good Practice

  • Reach out to the target population of refugees and immigrants in their convenient locations.
  • Introduce the benefits of the RAIN program,
  • Start and maintain good confidence with local community leaders and assure confidentiality.
  • Translate all marketing materials to several targeted languages.
  • Connect with local ethnics businesses and employers.
  • Meet, greet, and establish good partnership with the customer, then assist the need and refer customers to service providers.
  •  Follow up as needed.
A group of people at a job fair

Partners involved

It takes many dedicated partners to create a successful integration into the United States, Michigan and to identify employment opportunities.

Resettlement partners:

  • Samaritas
  • US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
  • Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan (CCSM)
  • Arab American and Chaldean Council (ACC)

Community Partners:

  • Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
  • Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC)/Detroit at Work.
  • Islamic Center of Detroit (ICD).
  • Global Detroit.
  • Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.
  • Life For Relief & Development.
  • Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF)
  • SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc.
  • Targeted media platforms within the immigrant community


What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?


  • Confidence
  • Stereotype
  • Language and culture barrier

How they were overcome

Confidence: By connecting with local community leaders, Faith-based organizations, and having marketing campaigns.

Stereotype: Explain to the host community the benefits of diversity and inclusion and share stories of refugees and immigrants.

Language and culture barrier: Working with local educators, schools, and community organizations to teach English and lifestyle.

People sitting in a conference room

Results of the Good Practice

  • Refugees are more welcome in their community after the community learned about their story and the benefits they bring.
  • Employers get the talent they need, and they are loyal and stay longer.
  • Economic prosperity and local integration.

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

By offering and connect refugees to community integration resources, training and employment opportunities.

Next steps

The project is still ongoing and active through SEMCA funds but State funding ended in 2020.

Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?

We need more engaging employers. 

Submitted by

Sameh Elhady, CDF-CBSP / Refugee & Immigrant Navigator, SEMCA (Southeast Michigan Community Alliance)

[email protected]

Adel Dalou, Refugee and Immigrant Navigator Associate

[email protected]

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