Giving Compass’ Take:
• Urban Institute explores how immigrant workers are a key part of our labor force and, despite the divide over policy in Washington, deserve attention from the investment world to attain more skills.
• What can nonprofits do to support this segment of the American economy? Which programs would advance the training for immigrant workers in a significant way?
In this time of intense conflict over immigration policies, we should not forget that immigration and immigrant diversity are a constituent part of who we are as a country and what defines our society.
Immigrants are a key pillar of our country’s economic strength and vitality. They make up 17 percent of the US workforce, with higher shares in many cities. And as immigration policy debates rage on and as families and communities suffer the consequences of toxic rhetoric, uncertainty, and family separations, immigrant workers are still showing up for work. They are still clocking in to support their families, employers, and communities and contribute to our economy’s stability and growth.
But are immigrants getting the skills they need to advance their careers, unlock better wages, and meet employer demand? Our recent report shines a light on immigrant workers in lower- and middle-skilled jobs and the barriers they face to education and training.
Employers need workers with bilingual and cultural skills to serve an increasingly diverse public and work in a globalized economy. With low unemployment rates, employers are especially in need of employees to fill middle-skilled positions that require some postsecondary training but not a four-year college degree.
But most immigrant workers in low-paying jobs have limited opportunities to pursue education and training and expand their English and technical skills. Although some successful programs exist, many local workforce systems have found it challenging to serve immigrant workers effectively. And we lack systematic knowledge about how to address barriers and design training for these workers.
Read the full article about immigrant workers’ roles in local economies by Hamutal Bernstein and Carolyn Vilter at Urban Institute.
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