Search form

Rebuilding lives

Rescue Works

From Syria to Sacramento, RescueWorks invests in people and communities to enhance the skills, income and financial capabilities of the world’s most vulnerable populations.


No matter the circumstance—fleeing from a  warzone or resettling in a new country—people in crisis need sustainable incomes and dignified work that provide them choices to meet their most pressing needs and shape their futures.

See all

About RescueWorks

The International Rescue Committee’s RescueWorks programming deploys evidence-based solutions that not only save lives and rebuild livelihoods, but also contribute to the economic vitality and growth of local communities. 

In addition to a suite of programming, RescueWorks provides a platform for new ideas and change across the humanitarian sector. We work with businesses and corporations, local governments and community leaders, academics and policy makers to keep our programmes on the cutting edge of global labour trends. Our goal is to provide refugees with sustainable and dignified options, whether they are starting a business in a refugee camp or learning new skills to launch a career in a developed economy. 

Our services

Through RescueWorks, the IRC provides:

  • Work readiness and soft skill development
  • Individual employment coaching
  • Direct job placement assistance
  • Career pathway programmes that lead to industry-aligned credentials and higher skill, higher wage jobs
  • Vocational English as a second language
  • Incumbent worker/workplace-based training
  • Youth-focused programmes

Microenterprise development services:

  • Basic business and life skills training
  • Business planning/business plan development
  • Business grants and loans
  • Micro-entrepreneur academy
  • Business counselling
  • Savings and asset development for microenterprise

Supply and value chain development (rural employment):

  • Collective marketing
  • Extension services
  • Training and market support

More about our work:

Outcome in focus: Economic wellbeing

The IRC provides direct assistance for people around the world as they try to feed their families and find a safe place to live, and we work to improve livelihoods opportunities for long-term economic wellbeing.

Our latest RescueWorks report

IRC paper: Unlocking refugee women's potential

In accessing paid, decent work, refugee women face restrictive labour market laws, increased threat of violence, discrimination, as well as regulatory and administrative barriers. According to a new analysis conducted by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS), in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), refugee women could generate up to $1.4 trillion to annual global GDP if employment and wage gaps were closed.

On Rescue.org: Our work in the U.S.

Delivered in 26 cities across the U.S.,  the IRC's workforce development programmes are designed to help an exceptionally diverse group of new Americans and other vulnerable populations enter employment and build careers. 

Find out more:  Workforce development in the U.S. 

IRC brief: Building America's new workforce

By exploring two examples of the IRC’s efforts to prepare new Americans for careers in two of the fastest growing industries in the U.S.—health care and transportation and logistics—this brief offers learnings on how to create solutions through thoughtful programme design and strong partnerships with the private sector.

IRC paper: Skill, career and wage mobility among refugees

This paper analyses refugee experiences moving into higher skill, higher wage jobs and suggests how findings from this analysis could inform key workforce development policy decisions at the federal, state and local levels.

IRC report: Choices, chances and safety in crisis: a model for women’s economic empowerment

Women are more likely to live in poorer households globally than men. This is particularly evident in places affected by conflict and crisis. This report discusses the impact of crisis on women’s economic empowerment and the limitations of recent responses. 

News and features