Teach dream

Post High School

Questions to Think About:

– How can we support students’ career and skill development when much of their labor and work experience, and that of their family members, is often unpaid and unrecognized?

– How can we help support students further their career interests in the face of uncertain futures?

Why this matters:

Marisol dreams of being a teacher. The reality is that at this moment in time, she would be unable to pursue a career in teaching through the New York Department of Education. She is likely to face difficulty in finding jobs at day cares, private schools or tutoring organizations that require working papers. However, she could still pursue an associate’s degree in early childhood education (for example), and look for baby-sitting jobs through personal connections. This would make more sense for Marisol than a job at a lavanderia, for example, and is more aligned with her interests and skill set.


What’s Below:

1. Creating a Resume

2. Resources


Below you will find some resources to help your students develop their career preparedness and offer hope and guidance in continuing to pursue their interests despite tremendous obstacles.

Creating a Resume

Although they may not have access to many mainstream careers, undocumented youth still have the right to work in jobs that pay at least a minimum wage with overtime benefits in a safe environment free of discrimination.  

Creating an official resume and job portfolio can be an essential step for young people to begin valuing their work and advocating for increased protections and respect in the workplace.  When creating a resume, frame previous experience in a way that highlights the skills and work experience these young people have.

Students often don’t realize that their experiences are valuable and should be included on a resume. The following examples highlight changes that can be made from what the student might say to a career counselor into what would be helpful on a resume.

From: “I shouldn’t work at a company where I talk to people on the phone for work—English isn’t my first language.”

To: Fluent in English and Spanish, able to provide written and verbal translation, an asset to any organization with Spanish-speaking clients.


From: “I just worked at my parents’ restaurant.”

To: Mexicano (2008-2009)

  • Prepared and cooked creative, Mexican-inspired culinary dishes

  • Provided prompt and courteous services in a fast-paced and high-pressure setting as waiter

  • Maintained a sterile environment in accord with sanitation guidelines.


From: “I stayed home and watched my grandpa, to make sure he was okay.”


The Smith Family                                                         New York, NY
Personal Care Assistant                                                                 2007-2008

  • Provide full-time care and supervision for an elderly patient
  • Duties included monitoring and distributing medications, maintaining a daily schedule, providing meals, naps, walks and baths, and escorting patient on outings


From: “I’ve only done maintenance work for my group home. Like, cleaning up and stuff.”

To: Green Chimneys Child Services                                                New York, NY
Maintenance Work                                                                                         2010-2012

  • Managed clean work areas to meet health & sanitation standards at a NYC foster care residence
  • Responsible for trash collection, sweeping halls and stairway, mopping, general organization, and maintaining the appearance of the front entranceway


Life after College Guide from Educators for Fair Consideration


“While initially it may seem as though undocumented students have limited options upon graduating from college, this guide is intended to shed light on the possibilities that

do exist. The guide has been written to be as inclusive and comprehensive as possible

by including personal narratives, student testimonials and advice from experts.” This guide includes sections on: going to graduate and professional school, types of professional schools, getting internships, earning a living, going abroad, exploring your immigration remedies, and staying motivated. Note: Most of this guide is applicable on a national level, but some sections only pertain to California.

Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth (Immigrant Legal Resources Center)


Immigrant Legal Resource Center has developed a handbook for immigrant youth living in the United States. It contains valuable information for immigrant youth about living, working and studying in the United States.

Immigrant Rights and Services Manual (Manhattan Borough Presidents Office)


This resource contains a variety of information about rights and resources for undocumented people in New York City.  Information about workplace protections begins on page 26.

Voices That Must Be Hear: Undocumented But Still Have Rights (Make the Road NY)


Article outlining rights for undocumented workers and potential pathways for action if those rights are being violated.

Public Benefits that undocumented people qualify for: http://www.nylawhelp.org/documents/33702111-Benefits_for_Immigrants.pdf?stateabbrev=/NY/

Includes information on what benefits are available in the areas of food, health, housing, employment benefits, and domestic violence.

Immigrant Eligibility for Healthcare in New York: http://www.thenyic.org/immigrant-eligibility

“Public health insurance eligibility rules can be complicated, but there are many places people can go for help with the application.  See the documents and links on this page for more information about immigrant eligibility for public health insurance, unique immigrant concerns such as sponsor issues and public charge, and help with public health insurance applications.”

See the “Concerns Regarding Immigrants and Public Benefits” for answers to commonly asked questions regarding immigrants and public benefits.

Immigrant Eligibility for Public Benefits (scroll to bottom of page for link to chart and guides): http://www.empirejustice.org/issue-areas/immigrant-rights/access-to-public-benefits/

“Low income immigrants face numerous obstacles in obtaining government assistance for basic survival, in large part because the eligibility rules are complex and not easily understood by local benefit agencies. Immigrants also sorely need representation in applying for immigration benefits to which they are entitled, particularly battered immigrants and other victims of crime. To this end, Empire Justice staff provide services, training and technical assistance to address these needs.”

“What’s the Union Got to Do with it” on Undocumented immigrants in NYC


Includes interesting article about unions and undocumented workers. According to the article, after years of neglect, unions are making overtures towards incorporating the concerns of undocumented workers.

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