Advance Inclusion I Upwardly Global fundamental policy


Advance investments in workforce development and education programs

For generations, the resilience and innovation of U.S. workers—including immigrants—has powered productivity and economic growth. Today, the need for talented human resources is more acute than ever, and Upwardly Global data point to the promise of immigrants to bolster the U.S. workforce. Yet, over the past two decades, government investments in workforce development and education programs have steadily declined. Upwardly Global calls for strong federal, state, and local investments in workforce development programs that connect U.S. workers–including immigrants–with pathways so they can use their skills, including apprenticeship programs and other work-based learning models and tailored ESL instruction.

Promote policies that foster the potential and professional integration of newcomers

Two million work-authorized immigrants and refugees in the United States have a college degree from their home countries and significant potential to contribute professional skills to the U.S. workforce, notably in in-demand professions like STEM, healthcare, and finance. However, due to systemic obstacles ranging from licensing hurdles to misperceptions about the value of immigrants’ credentials and experience, these professionals experience “brain waste.” They are either unemployed or underemployed in jobs that do not fully utilize their skills. Upwardly Global supports federal, state, and local policies that promote immigrant integration in workforces and communities across the country—including efforts to facilitate immigrants’ access to professional licensing processes; the creation of alternative pathways for qualified immigrants to put their professional skills to work; and increased recognition and reciprocity of immigrants’ existing credentials and skills. 


Protect the contributions and skills of family-based immigrants

United States’ current immigration system, built on the precepts of family-based migration and reunification, brings significant skill to the United States each year. Census data demonstrate that immigrants who arrive in the United States via family-based migration channels are actually better educated than the average native-born American and bring important skills that advance business and community development. Family-based immigrants are among the most upwardly mobile segments of the labor force. Upwardly Global data further underscores that “family-based” and “skilled” immigration are not mutually exclusive. Since 2017, nearly 30 percent of the college-educated, foreign-born professionals in Upwardly Global’s network have come to the U.S. via family-based immigration visas; half of these professionals have skills in in-demand STEM, healthcare, and finance fields. Upwardly Global urges policymakers to continue supporting an immigration system that promotes family reunification.

Preserve diversity in our workforce

The decades-old Diversity Visa (DV) Program brings significant global talent to the U.S. workforce—and ensures a pipeline of diversity that is consistently linked to innovation, resilience, and economic competitiveness. Half of Diversity Visa holders have a college degree, compared to 29 percent of native-born U.S. citizens. Since 2017, nearly 20 percent of Upwardly Global program participants—all college educated professionals, many with sought-after experience in STEM, healthcare, and finance fields, have been Diversity Visa holders. Yet, despite the significant talent and potential represented by Diversity Visa holders, the program is currently under evaluation. Upwardly Global calls for the continuation of the Diversity Visa program.

Recognize newcomers’ potential

Rebuilding a life and career in a new country is rife with challenges, yet data consistently point to immigrants’ success in the U.S.– and that their contributions create prosperity for other Americans.

Before connecting with Upwardly Global, 37 percent of the professionals in our network lived below the federal poverty line before overcoming barriers to find professional success in the United States.

Upwardly Global program alumni earn an average of more than $55,000half work in high-demand STEM and healthcare fields. Policies that penalize immigrants for temporary challenges—including unemployment, poverty, or use of public benefits—needlessly limit an important source of talent for our workforce and economy. Upwardly Global supports immigration policies that keep our economy competitive and ensure a robust engagement of immigrants in the economic growth of the country.


Upwardly Global knows that when immigrants—particularly refugees and asylum seekers—come to the United States they make valuable contributions to our workforce and economy. Once established in the U.S., they advance in their careers, start businesses, and make steady wage gains. Refugees contribute $63 billion more in tax revenue than they use in transitional public assistance. A growing number of U.S. employers have come to depend on their workforce contributions, citing strong retention rates, and positive effects on hiring practices. Policies that limit humanitarian protections will have dramatic negative implications for refugees, asylum seekers, and the U.S. businesses that employ them. Upwardly Global supports programs that encourage the contributions of refugees and asylum seekers to our economy and ensures their full integration into the U.S. workforce.

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