The Jerusalem Municipal Absorption Authority employs about ten Absorption Neighborhood Workers in the city. Their role is to assist new immigrants (Olim) who live in their neighborhoods with all the daily matters that those are typically challenged with. While these workers are usually new immigrants themselves, they cannot, of course, know and understand the cross-cultural issues relating to all immigrant communities that live in their neighborhoods
The municipal Absorption Authority, which is responsible for the recruitment, training and mentoring of the Absorption Workers, approached the JICC to conduct a training on cultural competency to this staff. The goals of the training are to leverage their work by making them more aware to cultural issues and to encourage them to become the voice for cultural competence in their neighborhoods. Our hope is that in time they will encourage local Community Councils and centers, local government agencies and branches, health clinics etc. to become cultural competent. Practically, this means that the scope of their influence will expand to include all identities living in their service area and not only new immigrants.
Today, November 19, we conducted the first training in the series that provided the Absorbtion Workers with an introduction to the field of cultural competence, including examples from health and many other applications relevant to their daily work. At the end of the training participants expressed their satisfaction with the level and scope of the training and that they look forward to future sessions. The rest of the training will cover topics such as cross-cultural communication, tools for cultural competence, case studies and simulations, and stages for making an organization cultural competent.