WES Mariam Assefa Fund Grantee Partners

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Category: Skills and Supports

Amount: USD$500,000

Term: June 2020 - May 2022

Focus: The IRC is expanding successful place-based career pathway programs for refugees and immigrants.

About the International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global non-profit that responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. In the United States, the IRC provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive. Each year, thousands of people who were forced to flee violence and persecution are welcomed into the United States. Working with government bodies, civil society actors, and local volunteers, the IRC helps these people translate their past experiences into assets and skills that are valuable to their new communities.

What type of work will the grant enable?

The IRC is working in four cities to strengthen local workforce systems and support successful career pathways for immigrant and refugee workers. In four distinct economies—Seattle; San Diego; Boise, Idaho; and Atlanta—the IRC will illuminate how local policies and decisions affect the economic outcomes of refugees and immigrants. Additionally, the grant is helping to fund the IRC’s COVID-19 relief work and provide direct assistance to workers economically affected by COVID-19.

Why is this work important?

COVID-19 has exposed the long-standing reality for immigrants, refugees, people of color, and many other workers, that workforce systems are not set up for these workers’ success, and many are being left behind. At the same time, all economies are local, and different cities have different economic needs. The IRC’s work across four cities will help identify overarching best practices, policies, and workforce infrastructure that support the success of refugees and immigrants, while also determining what’s required to implement these best practices in a contextually specific way. This project seeks to help identify career paths that enable these workers to learn industry-specific skills in their communities based on local economic needs. Immigrant workers need supportive and inclusive workforce systems that consider how to meet the needs of all workers across occupations, skills, and education.