Workforce Development

Workforce Development

Workforce Development

Securing a job can mean the difference between paying rent and homelessness. Learning English is essential, and the International Institute offers no fewer than 30 hours of ESOL classes per week. Job readiness classes emphasize interview techniques, job search strategies, and workplace preparation. Career laddering programs cater to industry-specific skill sets, while computer literacy classes prepare students for technology positions.

Among our most successful programs is our Hospitality Training Program (HTP). The HTP assisted Segen Berhe. Here’s how.


Segen Berhe arrived in Boston from Eritrea in 2008 as an asylee and in search of a job. Segen had worked for the InterContinental Hotel in Asmara but had not considered employment in the U.S. hotel industry.

Despite this, a friend referred her to the International Institute’s Hospitality Training Program (HTP). The HTP delivers skills training and job placement assistance to individuals pursuing hospitality industry employment.

Segen’s first reaction to the program: “I was wondering if I was wasting my time. It was snowing. I felt sick. I didn’t want to be there.” She tried to leave early. “Aisha (the HTP Coordinator) simply wouldn’t let me go. I was shocked!” She was so impressed with Aisha and the strictness of the HTP that she stayed that day – and every day thereafter.

Segen credits the program’s rigor and its emphasis on workplace oriented English language training for her immediate employment as a Guest Services Assistant at the Hilton. She made good money, worked with computers, and loved her co-workers. Segen was twice nominated as employee of the month. Segen continues to work at the Hilton, while attending the University of Massachusetts for a degree in business management.

“In the U.S. you can do anything you want – you can work as much as you like and go to school. Back home, they restrict you. They tell you what to do. Here, you can be who you are.” With a full-time job and classes, Segen, being true to herself, is on the path to success.

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