Our new report, “Unlocking Potential: Enhancing Community College Services for Immigrant and Refugee Students,” was featured on The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“Nearly one in three community-college students is from an immigrant background, according to a new report from Upwardly Global, a national nonprofit organization that works to help immigrants and refugees earn academic credentials.
While students of immigrant origin are the fastest-growing student population in American higher education, hurdles exist to effectively supporting them, the report notes. Data on such students is insufficient, and community-college officials often lack the resources and expertise to serve them.
A survey conducted this summer by Upwardly Global and the National Council for Workforce Education, with support from the Lumina Foundation, found that about 80 percent of respondents said their community college must improve its capacity to meet the specific needs of immigrant and refugee students. Thirty percent reported that their institution had no programs to support recredentialing and career re-entry for such students.
The report proposes best practices for supporting immigrant and refugee students, including improving professional development for faculty and staff members and working with other stakeholders such as employers, work-force agencies, and community-based organizations. Community colleges can also invest in career services tailored to such students and expand education and training programs, such as short-term credentials, that help them get into the work force.”
This report was informed by key stakeholder interviews and in-depth focus groups with community college practitioners across California and Texas, as well as national survey data from more than 80 college practitioners. We conducted this research between May and August 2023 with funding support from the Lumina Foundation and research partners at the National Council for Workforce Education.