DODGEVILLE, WI -- On Feb. 3, Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program (SWCAP) received official recognition by the U.S. State Department to assist with refugee resettlement in Wisconsin. With this news, SWCAP began welcoming families into its five service area, starting with two families from Afghanistan in mid-February.
An initiative formed by volunteers, state and area organizations, is being coordinated to provide warm meals, assist with moving household items, run errands, as well as provide rides when families first arrive. All volunteers must pass a background screening and participate in training. To volunteer, visit www.SettleInSouthwestWI.com.
Arrivals will have a wide range of life experiences, with previous careers as teachers, mechanics, doctors, engineers, and more. They often left behind not only these careers, but homes, families, friends, and communities when they were displaced from their home countries. As they build new lives in the US, initial placements will be in the City of Platteville and SWCAP hopes to expand placement to other southwestern Wisconsin communities with time and resources.
“Employers across our six-county region are experiencing unprecedented need for employees,” says Abby Haas, president of Prosperity Southwest, southwest Wisconsin’s economic development organization. “Many refugees are highly-skilled and our employers are eager to connect our new residents to jobs that will help their families, and our region, thrive.”
Currently, Southwestern Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, Amplio Recruiting, Talent Beyond Boundaries and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation are working to connect employers to individuals to fill job openings in our region.
In August 2021, Governor Tony Evers visited Fort McCoy and stated, “Many Afghan people now fleeing their homes have bravely contributed to work in Afghanistan over the past two decades. Just as they protected us in serving our country and helped keep our troops safe, we owe it to them to protect and keep them safe. Wisconsin is ready to assist these efforts and help these individuals who served our country and are now seeking refuge.” Fort McCoy is equipped to temporarily house refugees as they begin the resettlement process. Prior to entering the United States, Afghan evacuees must successfully complete a rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting process, including biometric and biographic screenings. Refugees are eager to find employment in Wisconsin and be active members of local communities.
For more information about refugee programs in Wisconsin, visit: https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/refugee. Settle In Southwest Wisconsin is managed by SWCAP under the oversight of Church World Service and the State of Wisconsin Refugee Resettlement Director, in partnership with Southwestern Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, and the Tristate Islamic Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Questions can be directed to www.SettleinSouthwestWi.com.