Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Dina Birman

Second Committee Member

Scotney D. Evans

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth G. Harry

Fourth Committee Member

Debbiesiu L. Lee


This grounded theory project focused on developing an initial understanding about the experiences of refugee women who are currently or who have in the past received employment services when making employment decisions once resettled in the United States. Interviews with 11 refugee women from Latin American countries living in Miami, Florida and one refugee resettlement service provider revealed that before women engaged in formal job-seeking activities that they were already “doing the work” of learning how to live life in a new country while taking care of themselves and of their families. The women focused on finding housing, dealing with disabilities, enrolling their children in school, and securing safe and reliable care for their children. Although all women acknowledged finding a job at some point was important, for most women it was not a top priority when first resettling. However, the goal of refugee employment services is to guide women towards obtaining a job as soon as possible upon first arriving, which is at a point in their resettlement journeys when they expressed they had other objectives they needed to achieve before the job search could begin or could be their most important task. The implications of this theory for methodology, practice, and policy are discussed.


Refugees; grounded theory; feminism; policy; employment; community psychology

Available for download on Thursday, April 15, 2021