East Lansing conference addresses refugee recertification

EAST LANSING, MI – Refugees with professional backgrounds often have difficulty getting re-certified to work in the United States. A national conference in East Lansing this week is addressing that problem.


Obstacles facing refugees include getting paperwork such as diplomas into the U. S. Conference organizer Linda Rabben says it's particularly tough for Iraqis.

While southeast Michigan has a large Arab-American population, Rabben says the U. S. Office of Refugee Resettlement is no longer sending Iraqis to Michigan. One reason is that it's hard for anyone, not just refugees, to find a job in this economy.

Rabben says there are other parts of the country with Iraqi communities where people may have relatives or friends, so refugees may be sent there instead.

Rabben says foreign professionals can help fill in gaps with skills that are otherwise in short supply in this country.