There are about 2 million immigrants and refugees currently in the U.S. who have college degrees from their home countries but are unemployed or working far below their skill level. Upwardly Global is the first and longest-serving organization that helps these men and women integrate into the professional American workforce.
Upwardly Global’s mission is to eliminate employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees, and integrate this population into the professional U.S. workforce.
We envision a United States where skilled immigrants are seamlessly integrated into the professional workforce and the fabric of American life, and are recognized for the value they add to both.
Our founder, Jane Leu, was working in the refugee resettlement field and toured a New York poultry production plant that was considered a model employer for refugees. The owner introduced Jane to two of his best employees: a former engineer from Iraq and a surgeon from Bosnia.
Disheartened by the loss of talent, Jane realized there was no infrastructure to help highly skilled immigrants and refugees regain their careers and contribute to the U.S. at their full potential. Jane launched Upwardly Global in 2000 from her kitchen table and began equipping work-authorized newcomers with the tools to rebuild their professional careers. Today, Upwardly Global is a national organization with offices in four metropolitan areas. We have matched thousands of immigrants with jobs that leverage their professional experience and skills, and we continue to pursue Jane’s vision of a nation where country of origin is not a barrier to success.
Founded by Jane Leu in San Francisco
Received initial funding from Three Guineas Fund, then Draper Richards Foundation
Opened New York City office to serve New York metro area
Opened Chicago office in partnership with the State of Illinois Office of New Americans
Nikki Cicerani became President & CEO and Jane Leu transitioned to the Board of Directors
Recognized by Migration Policy Institute with E Pluribus Unum Award
Invited to participate in Clinton Global Initiative meeting on U.S. Economic Recovery
Launched Online Employment Training Program
Opened Silver Spring, Maryland office in partnership with the International Rescue Committee
Launched Technical Assistance Program
Jina Krause-Vilmar became President & CEO and Nikki Cicerani transitioned to the Board of Directors