March 22, 2017

Inbox [March 22]: Ascentria cuts resettlement staff and services, Gengel to speak at SPM fundraiser, Clark creates new public health curriculum, Becker administrator wins national award

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Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about.

Citing halt to refugee resettlement, Ascentria cuts positions, hours

President Trump’s recent executive orders targeting immigration and refugee resettlement in the United States have resulted in layoffs and service reduction in the Ascentria Care Alliance Services for New Americans (SNA) program. Ascentria is contracted with government agencies to resettle newly arrived refugees assigned to Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Twenty employees faced layoffs or reduced hours. In addition, four open positions were eliminated. The reductions occurred in Worcester, Westfield and Concord, N.H. Additional reductions have been made in administrative departments. Managers and staff affected by these changes were notified on Monday, March 13, and many impacted staff departed Ascentria on Friday, March 17.

Although the first executive order signed in late January halting refugee resettlement was stayed by the courts, most of the important services that Ascentria provides to refugees have slowed or stopped altogether. The recently revised executive order reset the clock, pausing refugee resettlement for 120 days beginning March 16, and retains the stipulated reduction in refugees arriving into the United States in FY 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000 – a 64 percent decrease.

“Our Services for New Americans program is greatly impacted by these orders, and future program funding at this point is unknown,” Ascentria President and CEO Angela Bovill said. “What we do know is that refugee resettlement in our country will be significantly reduced by the new administration.”

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