Opportunity Challenge Spotlight Video: Inclusive Career Pathways

Wednesday October 28, 2020

In September, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund announced the 12 awardees of the Opportunity Challenge, chosen out of an applicant pool of 470 organizations. The Opportunity Challenge is a joint grantmaking initiative launched by the Fund and Tarsadia Foundation to identify solutions that support the success of immigrants and refugees and create a more inclusive economyThe finalists and several semi-finalist organizations were awarded a total of $2 million. These funds will support innovative projects and programs to uplift refugee and immigrant communities across the United States. 

As applications were reviewed, four common themes began to emerge in the solutions offered: financial access and inclusion, worker cooperatives, career pathways, and wrap-around supports for workers. 

We created a series of four videos showcasing the work of the 12 awardees and these four issue areas. In this video, we hear from leaders of awardee organizations focused on improving career pathways programs in high-growth industries, including health care and IT Though immigrant workers represent 17 percent of the total U.S. workforce, they are underrepresented in mid and high-wage jobs (13.6 percent of workers) and overrepresented in low-wage jobs (21.3 percent), according to the Brookings Institute. Career pathways must be stronger and more inclusive so that all workers can access quality, dignified jobs, grow in their careers, and achieve economic mobility. 

These three leaders are featured in this spotlight video: 

Mary Supley, Development Director of Centreville Immigration Forum in Centreville, Virginia. 
Funding from the Opportunity Challenge will launch a community-led effort to regularly convene low-income immigrant women to identify needs, provide mutual support, learn about community resources, and advocate for opportunities—including for jobs, education, child care, and physical and mental well-being. 

Dan Rearick, Co-Founder and Executive Director, and Daisy Magnus-Aryitey, Belated Co-Founder and Director Emeritus of Code the Dream in Durham, North Carolina. 
The Opportunity Challenge grant will scale Code the Dream’s proven model of improving economic mobility for immigrants and refugees seeking to unleash their own potential and make a better life for themselves and their communities. Code the Dream does this by providing free intensive training in software development for adult learners from diverse low-income backgrounds. 

Andrea Plaza, Executive Director of Encuentro in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 
Through the Opportunity Challenge, Encuentro will expand their Home Health Aid program, which uses education, self-employment, and leadership development to address the economic integration barriers that Latinx immigrants face in New Mexico’s home health industry. 

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