[The following was taken from the Southern Methodist University - Forced Migration Innovation project website]
The goal of the Forced Migration Innovation Project is to rethink refugees in resettlement as active agents in their own livelihoods. FMIP works with practitioners, the private sector, and refugees to develop sound programs based on research outcomes that contribute to alternative and sustainable livelihood practices in resettlement. In looking at longitudinal refugee employment outcomes, we hope to capture the enabling environments that facilitate upward mobility in newcomer populations.
Though there is a significant base of research on U.S. immigrant economic adaptation, how refugees fair over long periods of time and the strategies they use to career-ladder is significantly under-examined. Filling this gap, the primary research goals of FMIP's interdisciplinary team are 1) to understand how refugees in the U.S. use their own skills, talents, and entrepreneurship to create better livelihoods; 2) to understand the role of the host community's private sector as well as refugee networks in the process of upward mobility; 3) to identify the enabling environments (equally on the side of refugees, service providers, and employers) that support livelihood innovation and advancement; and 4) to understand to what extent the current resettlement system and host refugee discourse either supports or detracts from those enabling processes.
While committed to scholarship at an academic level, FMIP's goals and projects do not exist merely for the purpose of research. They are a considered response to ongoing, relevant needs initiated from current community agendas. This gives us an unusually rich opportunity to apply our findings in ways that make a real difference in the populations we serve. Through working partnerships with refugee groups, NGOs, workforce development, policy makers, and employers, FMIP is helping develop and monitor new programs that help newcomers move into living wages and career-ladder earlier in the resettlement process.
The Forced Migration Innovation Project is located in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.
For more information, go to the FMIP website.