Workforce Development

Ascend Fellows Help Refugees in Kenya

December 5, 2019  • Institute Staff

What are your career goals? It’s a routine question for an internship fair. But the answers the Institute’s Ascend fellows received—and the young people who provided them—were anything but typical. This internship fair was hosted in a community hall built on the dusty outskirts of the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. The students were refugees who had fled violence and unrest in South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia. All are earning their degrees online from Southern New Hampshire University. Paul LeBlanc, the president of SNHU and an Ascend fellow, uses student coaching services to redefine affordable, high-quality education and meet the needs of each student, including those in camps thousands of miles from his school’s small New Hampshire campus. Opportunity can be in short supply for those fleeing, caught between their status as refugees and limited options for resettlement. LeBlanc’s class of Ascend fellows hopes to help him transform these refugees’ lives with innovative employment pathways.