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Upwardly Global Featured in U.S. Department of Labor’s New Report on Employment for Newcomer Professionals

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Report follows the passage of Upwardly Global-backed legislation, calls for further research and resources to dismantle barriers for immigrant job seekers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Upwardly Global earned a feature in the U.S. Department of Labor’s new report, “Bridging the Gap for New Americans.” The first-of-its-kind report delves into current research on workforce inclusion barriers for newcomers with professional skills, highlighting a critical need to bridge existing gaps in research and resources.

CLICK HERE TO READ A SUMMARY OF REPORT

“This report is a critical step forward. We are thrilled to see this new report center the lived experiences of our community on a national scale,” says Jina Krause-Vilmar, President and CEO of Upwardly Global. “However, with global migration on the rise, there are key gaps in how the U.S. collects data to support our community on arrival. State and national agencies must partner to remedy this — from there, we will know how to invest in and uplift the future of our workforce.”  

In 2022, Upwardly Global helped draft and advocate for the Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act, pioneering legislation that required the U.S. Department of Labor to study and gather insights on employment barriers for newcomers with international credentials, resulting in this report. With over two million new arrivals possessing underutilized degrees in the U.S., the report shines a light on an otherwise invisible group that plays a key role in the future of the U.S. economy.

Key findings from the report include:

  • An estimated 7 million college-educated immigrants received their degrees outside the United States, 24% of whom are unemployed or underemployed, with the majority residing in California, New York, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey.
  • States like Washington, Tennessee, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Texas have seen significant growth in the population of college-educated immigrants.
  • Approximately 32% of internationally trained physicians practice in the Northeastern U.S.
  • Immigrants with non-STEM degrees, especially those in fields requiring formal credential recognition, licensing, or strong English proficiency, experience significant education-occupation mismatches.
  • Key barriers to skill utilization include English proficiency, race, education level, immigration status, and the complex, costly licensing processes to re-credential. 
  • States have enacted policy changes to ease the reentry of internationally trained healthcare workers into the U.S. workforce, complemented by initiatives from nonprofits, state programs, and community colleges aimed at integrating New Americans. Recommendations include increasing advanced English courses, expanding work experience opportunities, and providing industry-specific resources and coaching.

The report leverages Upwardly Global’s own research to assess employment patterns, as the study team found no other organizations attributing specific employment-related assistance to outcomes. Upwardly Global shared data and analysis from its Career Coaching Program, including a 76% improvement in document preparation for job applications, a 46% placement rate for those attending vocational training, and 1,116 job placements in 2022.

The findings also cited Upwardly Global’s report, “Roadblocks to Workforce Inclusion for Young Adult Immigrants,” which emphasizes the need for targeted career-navigation support for newcomers, such as resume- and cover letter-writing assistance.

While the report provides an overview of existing research, it also sheds light on the urgent need for more data on newcomers’ employment trends and where critical investment is needed. With the report’s heavy focus on re-credentialing, solutions like engaging with employers, career coaching for soft skills, and reducing visa backlogs require further examination.

Upwardly Global urges legislators and employers to embrace solutions-oriented policies, including enhanced data collection on immigrants’ education and employment upon arrival, targeted programs addressing barriers to professional employment, and streamlined immigration procedures promoting economic self-sufficiency through swift status adjustments and access to work authorization.

Overall, the federal government must align with state and local governments to ensure that they are building effective mechanisms for workforce inclusion. The report places Upwardly Global’s community of immigrant, refugee, and asylee job seekers on the national stage with clear emphasis on the need for further data, resources, and investment.

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About Upwardly Global

Upwardly Global’s mission is to dismantle employment barriers for low-income immigrant, refugee, and asylee professionals and to advance their inclusion into the U.S. economy. Since 2000, Upwardly Global has empowered unemployed or underemployed newcomers with the skills, career coaching, and social capital needed to rebuild their lives and careers. Learn more at UpwardlyGlobal.org.

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