Here at IFWE, we love to shed light on those who are beautifully integrating their faith and work. It is a special joy when such integration is done in a way that brings about the flourishing of those in need.
I recently learned about Amplio Recruiting, a company working with both employers and job-seekers to provide the unemployed with a good job and fill the labor gap for employers. The unique approach of Amplio? They work with refugees, right here in the U.S. I had the pleasure of connecting with founder Chris Chancey and asked him some questions about the work he does.
IFWE: First, what is Amplio Recruiting? Who do you work with and what do you do?
Chris Chancey (CC): Amplio Recruiting is a staffing agency helping great companies hire dependable employees from the refugee workforce. We started our business in 2014 in a refugee resettlement community outside of Atlanta, Georgia called Clarkston, believing that legally resettled refugees now calling the U.S. home could meet the prevalent and desperate need our country has for labor in many industries such as manufacturing, construction, and hospitality.
We also recognized that refugees attempting to acclimate to their new culture have a high-percentage chance of being unemployed or underemployed, and we believed we could change that for Clarkston and other communities as well. We now operate additional offices in Dallas, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina, and look forward to growing to 20 new cities in the coming decade.
IFWE: Tell me about why you decided to start Amplio. What influenced your desire to work with refugees in particular?
CC: As a student at Denver Seminary, I studied the journey of the Israelites throughout the Old Testament, and we prayed as a class for the refugee plight around the globe. I then worked for HOPE International, a gospel-centered, micro-enterprise development nonprofit. I got to see glimpses of what life was like for those fleeing developing nations that were experiencing civil unrest.
But it wasn’t until moving my family to the fringe of the Clarkston community that I understood what the resettlement process was like for people trying to find a safer place to live for themselves and their families. Clarkston is called the most diverse square mile in the country because of the many different cultures landing here. As I got to know the people in this community, they all kept saying, “No one is hiring, can you help us find a good job?”
At the same time, many of the business owners in the Atlanta area who had a heart for the poor would tell me, “We can’t find good people to work for us. We’d love to hire dependable people to help us grow our business but they don’t exist.” I felt like I was in a unique position to see that these two problems could solve each other. I had to act on it.
IFWE: What do you find most difficult about this work?
CC: The hardest part of our work is recognizing that we can’t help everyone. There are more refugees needing jobs than we currently have positions available to fill.
IFWE: What do you find most rewarding?
CC: When individuals from various countries and faith backgrounds walk in our door, they all have one thing in common: the trauma they have experienced has shattered their dignity. God has uniquely positioned Amplio to be part of restoring that dignity. People come in with their shoulders slumped over and their gaze at the ground, saying, “Give me any job.” When we approach them as humans made in the image of God, and begin to ask them questions and thoughtfully listen to their responses, dignity begins to break through. We love seeing the pride in people when they work hard at a new job, learn conversational English from just a few weeks at work, and start dreaming again about the goals they have for the future.
IFWE: What about business is unique for what you are doing through Amplio? In other words, how do you see operating in and through a business model as effective for loving the refugee?
CC: We have a discipleship process we’ve laid into our business model. As mentioned above, we first recognize everyone walking in our doors is made in the image of God. We care for them by helping them find employment and then we care for them through prayer. We ask specifically, “Is there anything you or your family need that we can pray and ask God to help you with?” When we ask to pray for them in this way, it provides more of a response and an opportunity for the Spirit to move. As the Spirit leads us, we ask if we can visit them in their home at a later time to tell them a story. Our team has memorized eight passages of scripture word for word from the Gospels about Jesus. When we have an opportunity to share a Jesus story, we always see God show up in some capacity. As people express a desire to learn more about Jesus, we connect them with local faith communities that speak their heart language and can study the Bible with them.
We could be applying the same process within a nonprofit model, however as a for-profit, we are able to win contracts and offer good jobs to people who need them. If we do business with excellence, we have the opportunity to share the gospel with many people who need it even more than they need a job!
IFWE: What’s your advice or challenge to readers? (Readers may be curious about how to make an impact/how to tangibly care for refugees in their communities.)
CC: First, get to know a refugee family. Many assumptions are made apart from entering the home and sharing a meal with people who have resettled in America under challenging circumstances. Based on the needs you see by interacting within the refugee community, consider the unique perspective God has given you to be part of the solution and take a step. Then, try something! You may fail, but this will provide a learning opportunity that will eventually lead you to playing a small role in your own way in God’s plan of redemption for the world.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about biblically and economically sound approaches to helping the “least of these” in Love Your Neighbor: Restoring Dignity, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty.
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