Amid the political posturing and rhetoric about immigration and refugees fleeing violence in many regions of the world, it is important to reflect on the individual stories of lives changed and dreams achieved. In late 2015 we celebrated our 3,000th job placement. To put that in some context, it took us 11 years to reach the first 1,000 placements, 3 years to reach 2,000, and just 18 months to achieve this latest milestone. Imagine how our impact will grow in the coming months and years?
In 2015 we began an important investment in cutting-edge technology to enable us to ultimately engage tens of thousands of our job seekers and volunteers. With more than $2 million in grants from our longtime supporter, Accenture, and new partners - the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation and the Leon Lowenstein Foundation - our first step is developing a new online learning platform to deliver an expanded training curriculum and connect job seekers with their peers, employers, alumni, and volunteers across the nation.
Additionally, we continue to raise awareness among employers about the value of our clients and to expand talent strategies to be inclusive of this population. In 2015 we deepened our hiring programs with employer partners such as Accenture, Standard Chartered Bank, and Structure Tech (some of whom you'll see profiled in this report).
Yet even as we grow our training and impact to levels that we could only imagine back in 2011 when we hit our first 1,000 placements, the one-to-one relationship remains critical. As macrotrends in the economy and the workforce shift, one thing remains true: at the end of the process it all comes down to one job seeker and one hiring manager in a room together. What we know—and what we remain committed to excelling at—is how to help talented, driven individuals get into that room and get the job that changes their lives. This new technology will enable each member of our team to make these connections and drive successes more broadly and efficiently.
Thank you to all who support, advocate, and work tirelessly on behalf of our mission. You have helped make 2015 a transformative year for UpGlo and for hundreds of job seekers, and I am so excited by what we will accomplish together in the future.
Nikki Cicerani, President & CEO
(based on ManpowerGroup's Talent Shortage Survey 2015)
(in additional tax revenue and consumer spending)
"I grew up in Ethiopia. I was inspired to become a doctor so I can help people who are in need. My father had diabetes. I could see how stressful it was for my mom and siblings and my family. I used to stay with him when he was in the hospital. I observed the doctors who treated him, how kind and good they were, and it stuck with me.
In my country, I worked as a medical doctor in a hospital on the border with South Sudan. This was during the war. I also worked for a nonprofit as a mentor and monitor for fellow medical professionals, focusing on HIV and other infectious diseases.
I was 26 when I came here as an asylee. People are more open and approachable here, but I am from a more reserved culture. Finding employment was really difficult. I was overqualified. For a while I was doing translating and working in a warehouse.
By the time I learned about UpGlo, I had honestly given up hope. I had family responsibilities and needed to be working very hard all of the time. UpGlo told us stories about people who had come to UpGlo before us, how they had tried and failed repeatedly to find jobs by themselves. Sometimes it’s good to know it’s not only you. Hearing their success stories was like getting my battery charged. I learned all the skills about how to present yourself and take into account cultural differences.
Now I’m working at University of California, San Francisco, doing clinical research coordination for breast oncology research. I work with world renowned physicians and I am only one exam away from getting my relicensing as a general practitioner. Thanks to UpGlo, I know where I belong and where my skills are valued."
"UpGlo was the perfect bridge to start my life in this country. After college and four years working professionally as an electronics engineer, I wanted to come back to the U.S. In Venezuela inflation moves a lot faster than a person’s income. You can work for decades, saving every penny, and still not be able to buy a home. I thought I was going to be fine living in the U.S.—I had lived in the U.S. from ages four to eight. But being a citizen wasn’t the hard part; adapting professionally was. All my education and work experience were from another country. I was applying and applying and not hearing back. After five months, I thought, What did I do? I have to go back! Maybe I don’t have the experience I think I have.
I found UpGlo while searching for survival jobs. The language was so perfect, it was funny: 'Are you looking for a survival job because you can’t get back into your field?' I wondered if it could be real. It is—top notch from beginning to end. They told me my experience was typical, and they could help me be on the same page with what employers are looking for and what I offer as a professional.
Within months, I earned a position as Spare Parts Coordinator at Wynright, a materials handling company for everything from cranes to conveyers to smart cars to palette packers, everything for warehouse automation. As an electronic engineer, I’ve always been in the project coordination area, logistics and development rather than design.
My husband went to UpGlo after me. For him, it was even faster; he was working in his field a month after his work authorization was final. Now our family can have stability, doing the jobs we studied hard for and are prepared to do."
"I was born and raised in Damascus, Syria. I finished my degree in business administration in Syria and started my career as a personal banker at Byblos Bank. Within two years I was a branch manager at Qatar National Bank. But because of the situation and the risk in Damascus, I had to leave. I believed that because I built my career once, I could do it again.
The road to Jordan to the U.S. Embassy was four hours driving and very risky. Rebels were on the road with many military checkpoints, and snipers were shooting at cars. At any time the rebels could shoot you or stop the car.
I arrived in the U.S. in June 2013 and got my work permit in six months. But my job search was very difficult because everything is different here. Employers don’t even call you. I was thinking, ‘if I can’t get even a low position in a bank, I will leave because I don’t want to waste my life. I will go to another country.’ Then my ESL teacher told me about Upwardly Global. I contacted them, filled out the application, and started to attend the activities and seminars.
It was very beneficial to know more about the U.S. business culture. From the resume to how to fill out an application, business etiquette, and emails for thanking the person you met—I started to be recognized by banks. I got two offers and went with Bank of America because it is the best.
The end of my first quarter was the final quarter of the year, 2014. I was informed that I had earned top performer for that quarter. My numbers were so high I won also for the entire year. Over the next three quarters, I got the top performer award three more times. When they had an opening for Senior Small Business Relationship Manager, I applied and got it. Now, I have my own office. I have everything."
“Over the past four years, Accenture and Upwardly Global have forged a strong, vibrant relationship. We are proud to partner through our corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed, which is equipping 3 million people around the world with the skills to get a job or build a business. Our people across the U.S. have volunteered approximately 5,000 hours with UpGlo, building lasting relationships with these jobseekers through mentorship, resume building and mock interviews.
Additionally – and like many of our clients – we work with Upwardly Global to identify qualified candidates that might be a fit for positions at Accenture that require highly-skilled individuals. In fact, more than 500 have secured positions with us and with our clients across the country.
Looking ahead, we will help UpGlo reach more people across the U.S. and continue to work closely to identify qualified candidates that might be a fit at Accenture. By combining our capabilities and expertise, we are expanding access to the training and coaching these individuals need to rebuild their careers and reach their full potential.
Partnering with UpGlo reinforces our commitment to making a difference in the way the world works and lives. Together, we are making a measurable and sustainable impact in the lives of the skilled immigrants, refugees and their families.”
--Larry Solomon, COO of Accenture North America
“I became aware of Upwardly Global when I hired someone who had been trained there. He said to me, a few months in, that he’d done this training at UpGlo and he could put me in touch. He told me the skill level was quite good and that the people I would be hiring were at the top tier in their own countries. The next time I had a position to fill, I called UpGlo and said: ‘Hey I’ve got a vacancy.’
I’m an immigrant myself. Twenty years ago, a fellow Irishman gave me a chance to become a project manager when I’d been working as a bricklayer. That led to me owning my own business. My construction company is seven years old. Throughout NYC, in Manhattan mostly, we build the shell and frame of the building and turn it over to the next of the trades to fill it out. We’ve got 40 people on our staff and 15 in our office; half of the 15 are from UpGlo.
I’m happy with the contributions made by the people UpGlo has sent my way. Everyone they’ve ever sent me is fully work-authorized. They all made the leap and put out the effort to get the visas and jumped through the bureaucracy and that shows a certain fighting spirit. That’s somebody with a bit of get up and go. Put that together with their education and you’ve got someone who can work and adapt in the U.S.”
-- Gerry Cormican, Founder and Owner, Structure Tech
Our current slate of 300+ online trainings have been viewed more than 89,000 times
The new platform will enable UpGlo job seekers to access customized, industry-specific content and to connect with peers, alumni, and volunteers through online communities, creating a complete social learning experience
We are also developing portals with specialized training and content for our alumni and volunteers. Some of these new features will launch in spring 2016
Unaudited 2015 financial information
We are grateful to all who support our vision of a United States where immigrants are seamlessly integrated into the professional workforce and the fabric of American life, and are recognized for the value they add to both.