New York—August 24, 2018—Upwardly Global is among 47 organizations recognized this week as part of the Starbucks Foundation 2018 cohort of “Opportunity for All” grantees, dedicated to creating job opportunities for veterans, refugees and others. Funds will advance Upwardly Global’s innovative work to close the opportunity gap for highly-skilled refugees and asylees.
“When a company like Starbucks commits to creating ‘Opportunity for All,’ they recognize that refugees, asylees and immigrants equally deserve access to opportunities in their new homeland,” said Jina Krause-Vilmar, President & CEO of Upwardly Global. “We know first-hand that investing in these job seekers reaps returns for the U.S. economy and workforce. Over the past decade, we’ve partnered with thousands of newcomers in rebuilding their careers in the U.S., adding $42 billion in taxes and consumer spending to our economy each year.”
Since opening its doors, Upwardly Global has helped nearly 1,300 refugees and asylees secure professional employment that aligns with their skills, education and professional aspirations. These individuals face significant challenges to workforce re-entry – language barriers, limited professional networks, and confusion with recredentialing processes – and are additionally vulnerable as they are often fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination. Upwardly Global supports newcomers in navigating the complex U.S. job search process with hands-on workshops, training, and networking opportunities, while also supporting U.S. employers in accessing this talented pool of workers.
“Opportunity for All grant recipients are selected with input from our partners (employees) who are passionate and involved in their communities,” said Virginia Tenpenny, Vice President of Global Social Impact Starbucks and Executive Director at The Starbucks Foundation, “They guide us to make the most relevant investments in programs that address local needs and will make meaningful, lasting impacts.”
Upwardly Global is proud to partner with Starbucks, recognizing their company-wide commitment to hire 10,000 refugees over five years. In addition to support for refugees, they emphasized the hire of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders – individuals that have served with the US military as interpreters and support personnel. In 2017, Upwardly Global helped to connect Starbucks with Omar[i], a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holder who moved to Seattle at age 31 after having supported U.S. troops in his home country of Afghanistan, to a job interview at Starbucks. Omar was offered the role of a Configuration Engineer at Starbucks’ corporate headquarters in Seattle.
The “Opportunity for All” grant will help Upwardly Global support more job seekers like Omar – skilled, work-authorized refugees and asylees – in the New York and San Francisco metro areas over the coming year. Funding from the Starbucks Foundation will serve 150 job seekers in the two regions and will result in nearly 70 professional placements, offering these individuals a chance to rebuild their lives in the face of extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
About Upwardly Global
Upwardly Global, founded in 2000, is the leading nonprofit organization in the U.S. helping work-authorized immigrants and refugees successfully translate their education, skills and previous careers into the U.S. workforce. To date, the organization has trained nearly 10,000 foreign-educated immigrants and has assisted over 5,500 individuals back into their career fields.