Financing Immigrant and Refugee Integration

This is a time of transition in the U.S. population. Among the significant shifts: rapid diversification, including over 44 million immigrants and refugees (Migration Policy Institute); and a shortfall in workers needed to fill jobs in our economy (1.9 million anticipated by 2024 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)). Since over half of the immigrants and refugees are of working age, they could provide a solution to the likely employment challenge.

However, a systemic problem currently exists. Many new Americans experience under- or unemployment. For instance, some two million college-educated immigrants are either out of work or in jobs that require little to no advanced education  (Migration Policy Institute); and those in mid-skill occupations earn 25% less than their native-born peers (Urban Institute).

The workforce development ecosystem is complex and fragmented, composed of job seekers, employers and training providers; and in the case of the immigrant/refugee communities, social service organizations and funders, and it crosses the public, private and philanthropic sectors. There are few incentives to collaborate or communicate; and immigrants and refugees face multiple challenges to accessing and completing training programs and securing productive work.

We will all benefit when these new arrivals integrate into society and contribute their expertise, energy and earning potential. 

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