The involvement of the College of Southern Idaho in the refugee resettlement field began in 1980 under Marvin Glasscock, Director of Continuing Education at the College; and was known as the Indo-China Refugee Resettlement Program. The program started with a federal grant to teach English, home economics and related skills under Lise Swedberg, primarily to Laotian families in Buhl and Twin Falls.
The Program was, and has been, under the fiscal management of the College of Southern Idaho from inception. The name of the Program changed several times during the years, being called at various times: The Indo-China Refugee Resettlement Program, The Czechoslovakian Resettlement Fund and the CSI Refugee Resettlement Program until the most recent name, College of Southern Idaho Refugee Programs, was adopted in 2004.
Little history of the Program is known in the period of 1982 until Marv Glasscockís death in 1990. Shortly before that time, management of the program started under Sheri Toolson, (wife of Marv Glasscock) until 1992 and Pauline Day from 1992 to mid 1993. During that period, the program was affiliated with the American Fund for Czechoslovak Refugees(AFCR) which ended in mid-1990. After that, the program became affiliated with the American Council for Nationalities Service(ACNS) in 1990, which became Immigration and Refugee Services of America in 1994, and in 2004 changed itís name to United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI).
Management of the Program, changed in mid-1993 when, Ron Black, CSI Incubator Manager was appointed as Director of the Refugee Program. Beginning in 1993 and continuing through 2008, the program went through an expansion and restructuring that mirrors the reorganization of the national resettlement affiliate (USCRI) in many respects. Federal grant programs through the national affiliate were added, as well as federal grant programs administered through the state refugee service replacement agency, the Idaho Office for Refugees.
CSI Refugee Programs is a comprehensive one-stop refugee service program combining initial resettlement services for newly arriving refugees, through Case Management services and on-site English Language Training, as well as employment counseling and placement with local employers.
The offices of the Program have been located in a number of locations over the last twenty-six years starting in 1982 at the Steele house on the edge of the CSI campus. It then moved in 1983 to 1300 Kimberly Rd. In 1987 it was located at 260 4th Ave. E. near the library. In later years, as the program expanded, the Center moved; first to Blue Lakes Blvd. N. near TSE Restaurant, then to Addison Ave. and Locust St. where it occupied part of buildings from the Hunt Relocation Camp of WWII; and finally in 2005 to the current location on Highland Ave. E..
Since it's inception, the CSIRP has resettled more than 2500 refugees from a variety of different continents; providing local businesses with a steady source of entry level workers. The Program has also brought more than $3 million of federal money and benefits back to the Magic Valley that have been used to purchase goods and services from local merchants. It has also been a source of students pursuing career and professional upgrades through the College of Southern Idaho. Many former refugees now hold prominent positions in the Twin Falls community.
CSIRP is the only provider of refugee specific services for South-Central Idaho.