WES Mariam Assefa Fund Grantees

JFF (Jobs for the Future)

Category: Employer Practices

Amount: USD$247,380

Term: Sept. 2019—Sept. 2020

Focus: Identify emerging practices that enable employers to support immigrant and refugee workers and codify and expand employer-driven workforce training programs for further replication in the field

About JFF

Over more than 35 years, JFF (Jobs for the Future) has accelerated the alignment and transformation of the American workforce and education systems to ensure access to economic advancement for all.

What type of work will the grant enable?

With the support of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, JFF will undertake a multifaceted initiative to identify existing employer hiring practices of immigrants and refugees; collaborate with corporations to implement skill-building and support services programs for immigrant and refugee workers; and evaluate the outcomes of these programs to better inform their replication and scale. To deepen and scale career pathways and workforce solutions, JFF will work directly with companies that value workplace diversity and inclusion. Insights from this work will be shared broadly and leveraged to encourage other employers to put talent first and invest in the success of immigrant and refugee workers.

Why is this work important to the fund?

The work that JFF will carry out resonates deeply with the WES Mariam Assefa Fund’s goal of urging more employers to adopt and invest in programs, practices, and behaviors that support immigrant and refugee talent. Leveraging its robust network of “impact employers”—businesses that adopt strategies with a positive impact on workers, communities, and the bottom line—JFF will test the validity and effectiveness of interventions such as on-the-job ESOL classes and skills training. It will also measure the effects of such interventions on the company as well as on workers. As seen in the case of Denver-based L&R Pallet, which has a 66 percent refugee labor force, employee productivity and retention improve with on-the-job training and support. JFF’s project will also formalize internal pathways for professional advancement, and create economic mobility for low-income immigrant and refugee workers.