Promoting Refugee Integration, Mobility and Empowerment (PRIME) Program

Washington State has a long history of providing services and support to refugees. Our state was the first to respond to President Gerald Ford’s call for assistance for refugees in May 1975.  At that time, Governor Dan Evans made an initial commitment to resettle 500 refugees from Southeast Asia.  They were provided temporary shelter at Camp Murray near Tacoma.  Since that time, Washington continues to be ranked as one of the top ten resettlement states in the U.S.

PRIME Services:  Case Management, Self Sufficiency Education Workshop, and Immigration.

PRIME stands for Promoting Refugee Integration, Mobility and Empowerment.  PRIME provides refugees a continuum of services that are community based, comprehensive and client centered. The services promote refugees’ integration into their new communities, and increase their mobility through coaching on how to independently navigate community systems and resources.  Refugees use the knowledge gained to empower themselves and regain control over their lives as they fulfill their dreams or goals.   

PRIME services are available to refugees who are at least 16 years old, and who have resided in the U.S. for five (5) years or less. The services, which are provided by service providers throughout the state, include comprehensive Case Management Services, Self- Sufficiency Education Workshops, and Immigration Assistance.  In addition, PRIME provides auxiliary services including an asylee outreach program; a civic engagement project; and a mental health support program for those contending with difficulty adjusting in the U.S. and/or residual trauma due to persecution in their home country. 

Case Management Services

PRIME Case Management services enable refugees to remove barriers that prevent them from achieving economic independence and to integrate successfully into their new communities. Case Management services are related to family stability, economic empowerment, health and wellness, education and training, and cultural integration. The services are designed to be sufficiently flexible, so that they meet the specific needs of individual recipients.  

Providers can also link refugees in need of services or benefits with other service providers, professionals, and/or agencies, including:

  • Mental health counselors or providers.
  • Health care programs or providers.
  • DSHS food, cash, medical, and child care assistance programs.
  • Local area food banks.
  • Housing authorities and apartment complexes.
  • Public or non-profit entities that provide rental, utility, or transportation assistance.
  • Non-profit agencies that provide family violence intervention or counseling.
  • Public or non-profit agencies that administer employment and training services.
  • Other organizations dedicated to providing refugee support services.

Self-Sufficiency Education Workshops

PRIME Self-Sufficiency Education Workshops provide newly arrived refugees with critical information that help them to learn how to live and thrive in their new communities in Washington State. The workshops, which are provided in a structured bilingual setting, allow refugees to learn how to access local services and resources independently. 

Self-Sufficiency Education Workshop topics include:

  • Advanced Cultural Orientation that builds upon, but does not replicate cultural orientation workshops provided by VOLAG’s during the reception and placement period.
  • Availability of local resources and programs.
  • Basic use of technology.
  • Civic engagement and leadership.
  • Educational System – K-12 and post-secondary school education.
  • Emergency preparedness and services.
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Plan Development.
  • Financial literacy – banking and budgeting.
  • Health and nutrition issues and services.
  • Insurance – auto, medical and home insurance.
  • U.S. legal system, law enforcement, and immigration.

Immigration Assistance

PRIME offers refugees assistance with completing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services application  to adjust or change immigration status from lawful temporary residence status to lawful permanent residence status after a year in the U.S.

The Department of Social and Health Services has many other programs and services to help refugees and immigrants meet their basic needs. To learn more, click here for information on DSHS services and how to apply for public benefits.

ORIA Program Manager Contact Information:

N. Nketia Mensah
(206) 568-5795
mensann@dshs.wa.gov

Self-sufficiency through support, education and training.

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