Giving Compass' Take:
- Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix present a report detailing suggestions for policymakers to remove the many barriers causing college-educated immigrants to be underemployed.
- How can funders and policymakers support equitable employment to prevent brain waste?
- Learn about supporting immigrant students working for their families during the pandemic.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
With rising job vacancies and a workforce and society that are aging, the United States already has a reservoir of human capital that is not fully tapped: The millions of U.S.-born and immigrant college graduates who are in jobs requiring no more than a high school credential or who are unemployed. This human capital, if well leveraged, could bring important benefits to the U.S. economy, local communities, and the workers themselves.
Nonetheless, few strategic efforts have been made to address this skill underutilization, often referred to as "brain waste." Its effects fall particularly hard on Black and Latino college graduates, whether immigrant or U.S. born, as this report details.
Using U.S. Census Bureau data, this report analyzes state and national factors linked to brain waste, with particular attention to the stark patterns of racial and ethnic disadvantage that emerge in underemployment trends. It also discusses how place of education, English-language proficiency, legal status, and profession may predict the likelihood of skill underutilization for highly educated immigrants.