Tennessee Office for Refugees
Targeted Assistance Program (TAP) The Targeted Assistance Program (TAP) is designed to implement local, specialized direct service programs in counties with high concentrations of refugees relative to the general county population. In 2008, Davidson County was selected as one of 57 counties in the United States eligible for the program due to the number of arrivals in recent years. Current recipients of TAP funding include Catholic Charities, Nashville International Center for Empowerment, Nations Ministry Center, Tennessee Foreign Language Institute, and World Relief. Refugees are eligible for TAP services for up to five years after their arrival in the United States.
As a provider of TAP services, Catholic Charities of Nashville provides job readiness training, access to English language classes, and financial literacy for their refugee clients. In addition to these intensive employment services TAP funds a program offering on-the-job training in a factory setting. Employees earn wages while learning the expectations of employers in a sheltered setting. This program also includes six hours per week of English language training on-site.
The TAP program at Nashville International Center for Empowerment continues their many years of providing employment services for Nashville's refugees. At the hands of well-experienced staff, clients receive a combination of services that include English language classes, job readiness skills, and life skills training necessary to overcome existing barriers and achieve the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency, both financially and socially.
Nations Ministry Center largely serves refugees and immigrants living in North and West Nashville, though their Targeted Assistance program is open to refugees seeking employment services from any part of Davidson County. In addition to providing adults with intensive job counseling and related case management in conjunction with job placement and follow-up, they assist teens in securing part-time work while still attending school, or full-time work shortly after graduation.
Tennessee Foreign Language Institute provides English language training for adult refugees with limited or no access to classes through their ESL to Go mobile classroom. The “English truck” visits local apartment complexes where refugees live to minimize barriers to attendance, the most prevalent of which is transportation. The flexibility of the mobile classroom enables TFLI to easily adjust scheduling as needed to best respond to the most pressing needs of new arrivals.
World Relief observed that refugee professionals were a segment of clients requiring specific employment and career services that were not easily provided; therefore they created the REACH program through TAP. REACH staff guide refugee professionals, who often have advanced degrees and extensive work experience, through a highly specific career plan that includes the potential recertification of higher education degrees, resume writing, networking, and job placement at least within their original field if not in the exact job they were forced to leave upon becoming refugees.