June 22, 2018
Executive Orders Lead to Staff Cuts at Ascentria Care Alliance

March 20, 2017 — Ascentria Care Alliance, a Worcester nonprofit community service organization, one of the largest in New England, today announced that President Donald Trump’s executive orders targeting immigration and refugee resettlement in the United States have resulted in layoffs and service reductions.

Twenty employees connected to the Services for New Americans (SNA) program have been laid off or had hours reduced hours, and four open positions have been eliminated, said Ascentria Care Alliance, which employs 1,700.

Additional reductions have been made in administrative departments, he said, noting that managers and staff affected by the changes were notified last Monday, and many impacted staff departed Ascentria on Friday.

Positions were eliminated or cut back at all three locations where the SNA program is delivered: Worcester, Westfield, and Concord, N.H.

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

Currently, no new refugees are scheduled to partake in the SNA program, and no new arrivals are expected over the next several months.

Although an executive order signed in late January halting refugee resettlement was stayed by the courts, Ascentria said most of the important services that provide to refugees have slowed or stopped altogether. The second of two executive orders on refugees halted refugee resettlement in the U.S. for 120 days, beginning March 16, and retained the stipulated reduction in refugees arriving in the country in FY 2017, which ends Sept. 30, from 110,000 to 50,000 – a 64% decrease.

“What became clear is that the level of uncertainty about the future of refugee resettlement in the U.S. requires that we scale down our program until we have more definitive information," said Tim Johnstone, executive vice president. “We wish we had other options available, but without SNA program revenue and clients to serve, we cannot continue to fund these areas at their present levels.”

Impacted employees have been encouraged to consider Ascentria’s open positions for opportunities they may be qualified for and interested in. Additionally, resume and job search guidance is being offered to assist impacted staff, the nonprofit said.

Ascentria said the SNA program will continue to support existing resettled refugees with case management, language classes, workforce development and employment services, microenterprise and immigration legal assistance, SNAP-Education, and connections to other community resources.

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