Year in Review: Upwardly Global’s 2023 Advocacy and Policy Accomplishments

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NEW YORK — Reflecting on the past year, we’re excited to share the strategic vision and milestones achieved through our advocacy and policy work, which aligned with our 2023 policy priorities.

Our renewed vision of economic inclusion:

Over the last three years, a significant number of forcibly displaced persons have entered the U.S., many holding bachelor’s degrees or higher, including about 25% or 10,000 Afghan newcomers. To aid newcomers in navigating the U.S. labor market on arrival, our focus has been on a strategic ecosystems approach, strengthening ties with workforce services, community colleges, and refugee resettlement agencies.

Upwardly Global is also actively addressing the distinct challenges faced by immigrant women at the intersection of various gender, color, and immigration identities through our Women’s Economic Power initiative. The initiative advocates for family-oriented policies that help job seekers build their lives and contribute to their communities.

Our key advocacy pillars aim to advance newcomers’ full inclusion in local communities and economies, support systems that champion immigrants’ potential and skills, and celebrate the contributions of immigrants, refugees, and asylees.

Our policy achievements in 2023:

I. Afghan newcomers: Since Operation Allies Welcome in August 2021, we’ve helped nearly 650 Afghan newcomers secure skill-aligned careers, reached over 4,500 users via our Afghan learning portal, and awarded over 250 scholarships. We also advocated for the reintroduction of bipartisan bills supporting their right to live and work in the U.S. Our efforts received honorable mentions in Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas and the Ragan Crisis Communications Awards.

II. Federal guidelines for inclusion: Upwardly Global was involved in several key initiatives, submitting recommendations to the White House’s Task Force for New Americans, advocating for the Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act, and leading discussions on employment solutions for Safe Mobility Offices in Latin America. Following the White House’s executive order on artificial intelligence (AI), we also released a report on the impact of AI technologies on immigrant job seekers.

III. Parental leave for immigrant women: With over 40% of women job seekers identifying childcare as the main barrier to obtaining skill-aligned work, Upwardly Global has submitted research findings and action-oriented policy recommendations to the White House’s Task Force on New Americans and are crafting partnerships to further our advocacy. 

IV. Healthcare licensing reform: Upwardly Global worked to eliminate licensing barriers for internationally trained healthcare professionals, advocating for three federal bills, supporting the passage of legislation in Illinois, and partnering with The International Medical Graduates Academy to implement similar legislation in Washington. Our thought leadership included speaking at events, sharing alternative career pathways for international medical graduates, publishing white papers, and more.

More to come in 2024:

Thank you to all of our partners, champions, and stakeholders for your trust and collaboration. In 2024, we look forward to deepening our strategic ecosystems approach and sharing our new advocacy and policy priorities for the year.

Read our full white paper on our 2023 advocacy and policy accomplishments here


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

For more information, visit the Upwardly Global’s policy and advocacy landing page or contact Advocacy and Strategic Initiatives Coordinator Rebecca Fishman.

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