Yet again, real-world examples pop up on the importance and value of ethnic recruitment efforts. Slowly but surely, more attention is being paid to specialized markets, but many times, multicultural outreach gets placed on the backburner and its need only gets recognized in reaction to a crisis or with remaining budgets.
I came across an article a little over a week ago about a specific U.S. Army program, Mavni (Military Accessions Vital to National Interest), that enlists immigrants here on temporary visas. Those who are promising recruits can become citizens in as short as a month—extremely favorable compared to the potential decade-or-more wait the old fashioned way.
Mavni recruits are desired for their language and medical skills. The language component especially is extremely critical for those regions in which you can find the U.S. forces. That means immigrants skilled in Arabic, Urdu and Pashto are a hot commodity.
Naomi Verdugo, an Army recruiting official, spoke about the “extraordinarily high” proficiency of these immigrants recruited for their language skills. “We send people to language school, but it is tough to get a non-native speaker to the level of these folks,” she said.
Many immigrants, even those who already have their U.S. citizenship, have this level of proficiency. Even immigrants who have been here for years do not lose the language knowledge they brought from overseas. Their heritage, culture, and speech make up an identity rarely lost to acclimation; and these groups value when outreach efforts acknowledge that.
The Mavni program, although wildly successful, is on hold for a required Pentagon review. With all the positive feedback, I’m sure this review is a matter of formality and the program will be up and running again shortly. However, the article alludes to the fact that this block may have been “slowed by the top-to-bottom examination of security procedures after the shooting rampage in November at Fort Hood, Texas, in which an Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, has been charged.”
Such reasoning for blocking this program may offend or confuse the audience they actually intend to attract. It brings up the point that cultural awareness, sensitivity and savvy are critical for intra-government workings as well as outside efforts.
The Mavni program’s immigrant recruitment should be recognized across all government sectors. These recruits clearly have language expertise and, in light of continuing events post 9/11, their cultural understanding is needed and cherished. And if citizenship is a hiring criteria, (which is the case for most government jobs) second or third generation ethnic groups similarly perform at this high level. And whether they’re immigrants or children of immigrants, most have an innate sense of civic duty and a unique appreciation for the U.S.—this goes for immigrants all over the globe.
The take-away is this: Just as we learn that such recruits are so valuable, the government should learn that efforts are advantageous. Multicultural and ethnic outreach should stop being reactive and instead be proactive—having the correct workforce now will eliminate the scramble if problems arise.
A recent post on a blog called The Importance of Language depicts five key reasons to master the Arabic language. While our team at Allied Media Corp. believes that the author is right in encouraging people to learn Arabic for the sake of competition in the job market or understanding our fellow neighbors, we also recognize that people are busy; therefore, we give our clients an opportunity to use our language expertise and cultural knowledge to get their message across to the hard-to-reach communities in the U.S.
The post points out that while Arabic is the fifth largest spoken language in the world, there is a low supply of American Arabic-speakers and a high demand. Our team understands that clients looking to reach out to this segment often encounter competition with similar companies or agencies, so we consistently find ways to make each client stand out in a culturally relevant manner.
Additionally, the post says that Arabic is essential to understanding the Quran, the Islam book of faith and that “Intercultural understanding begins at home.” Our team works with local Arab American and Islamic organizations nationwide, regionally and locally to utilize trusted faces when communicating our client’s messages. We also strive to place posters and other materials in halal grocery stores, hair boutiques, and mosques and churches that are visited by Arab Americans.
Lastly, the post indicates that understanding the history of the Arabic language can be essential given that the language has lent many words to the English language. Researching the history as well as current events of various ethnic groups is one main component of any outreach campaign, and our team stays up-to-date with the latest Arab American news, events and other new data that is published relating to the Arabic-speaking audience.
Our team is dedicated to helping our clients efficiently reach the Arabic-speaking audience. Therefore, while we encourage our clients to know their communities well, when it comes to learning the language, let Allied Media worry about that!
To read the original blog post, click here.
If you live in Michigan and have no plans this Friday night, you should head to the movie theater. After debuting at the Sundance Film Festival and winning a Cannes prize, Amreeka (http://www.arabdetroit.com/news.php?id=908) hits theaters to portray the lives of an Arab American immigrant family.
The film, unlike many portrayals of Arab American post 9/11, shows this challenges this ethnic family faces in America. It’s important to see this viewpoint here in America. Many times Arab Americans are seen as the villain, but in reality this community is often victimized. The director, Cherien Dabis, as an Arab American herself, strives to dispel stereotypes and right the wrongs of past actions.
She says, “If we don’t tell our story, who will? We can tell it the best, and with all the damaging misinformation floating around out there, it’s our responsibility as Arab Americans to work on reversing those inaccuracies.”
Her point is so eloquent—those that can personally identify with a culture are best to advise on that culture. The misinformation she speaks of can only be fixed through true understanding of this community, and Dabis’ film is a step in that direction.
Outreach and marketing ties in here because just as marketers want their audience to see their product/brand/service in the right way, the audience wants the marketers to see them the right way—to understand the truths of their beliefs, needs trends, and much more that makes up a certain community and culture.
This film doesn’t just represent one family’s story in America, but also the successes and advancement of the Arab American people. This community is growing rapidly; their education and income levels are high, placing them at a higher buying power than not only many minorities, but the mass audience as a whole.