WES Mariam Assefa Fund Grantees

Upwardly Global

Photo Courtesy: Upwardly Global

Category: Employer Practices

Amount: USD$250,000

Term: Oct. 2019—Mar. 2021

Focus: Design and pilot employer tools and support systems for successful immigrant integration and advancement in the workplace

About Upwardly Global

Founded in 2000, Upwardly Global is a leading nonprofit organization in the U.S. supporting college-educated immigrants, refugees, and asylees in successfully transitioning their education, skills, and previous professional experience to the U.S. workforce. To date the organization has assisted more than 6,500 people in successfully rebuilding professional careers in the U.S. Upwardly Global envisions an equitable, more welcoming nation where everyone—including immigrants, refugees, and asylees—can fully contribute and thrive.

What type of work will the grant enable?

With the support of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, Upwardly Global will embark on an initiative to promote inclusive talent practices and culture change in the corporate sector. Upwardly Global will partner with a wide range of employers, including small, medium-sized, and Fortune 500 enterprises, to design, prototype, and pilot new tools and services. These new systems will enable human resources teams and other key stakeholders to better support immigrant and refugee talent. Solutions will explore the spectrum of talent needs, from recruiting and hiring through workplace integration and career advancement. Upwardly Global will evaluate the impact of these pilots to identify practices that employers could adopt more broadly. The organization will share its findings to contribute to the wider conversation regarding diversity and inclusion in employer practices.

Why is this work important to the fund?

Integrating immigrant and refugee talent into the workforce, as well as supporting that talent’s advancement, yields benefits for employers, the economy, and the wider community. Pervasive un- and underemployment of skilled immigrants—a WES-MPI study found that as many as 1.9 million were un- or underemployed in 2014—suggests that current employer practices are ill-suited to serve the needs of a workforce that is increasingly foreign born. By leveraging its job placement expertise and extensive network of employer partners, Upwardly Global is uniquely positioned to design well-rounded support systems that employers can use to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse nation.