Thank you for visiting the IMPRINT Coalition. Join our #UntappedTalent campaign to reimagine policies and open pathways so that everyone has a fair chance of reaching their educational and career goals.

#UntappedTalent: Inclusive Economies for All

Join our campaign to advance policies that are inclusive of all workers and open pathways so that everyone has a fair chance of reaching their educational and career goals.

Together, we can build a workforce that works for all.

Join the #UntappedTalent Campaign

The Challenge

A strong economy is an inclusive economy in which all workers can thrive. Yet more than two million immigrants and refugees with college degrees are underemployed or unemployed in the U.S. Sixty percent hold international credentials.

Systemic barriers to economic mobility—including limited recognition of international credentials—impact individuals who are trying to rejoin their professions, deny communities critical social, cultural, and linguistic competence, and keep millions of dollars out of the U.S. economy each year.

There are opportunities for reform.

The Solution

Together, we can open pathways to success for all. We must:

Invest in accessible workforce development training and English language learning.

Support state and local efforts to advance the economic inclusion of immigrants and refugees.

Ensure that occupational licensing laws recognize international credentials.

By joining the #UntappedTalent campaign, you can help WES accomplish all these goals.

Join the Campaign

Lubab’s Story

“My training and experience were recognized last year. Why is this year different? I can continue to serve and save lives.”

Lubab graduated from a top medical college in Baghdad and worked as a licensed pathologist for 18 years, saving countless lives until her own security was threatened. In 2014, she resettled with her family in the U.S. Seeking safety cost Lubab her career: Barriers to licensure, including time-consuming and costly medical exams and clinical training, prevented Lubab from rebuilding her medical career in the U.S. To support her family, she took a job at a restaurant.

In 2020, New Jersey granted Lubab a temporary medical license that allowed her to support the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response by caring for patients in a nursing home. However, the license has since expired. Lubab now works as a pathologist’s assistant.

Toyosi’s Story

Toyosi earned a political science degree in Nigeria and built a successful career in the country’s non-profit sector, working on wide-ranging social issues with international NGOs. But when she moved to the U.S. in 2018, her extensive experience & international credentials were not understood or valued. She took a job as a personal shopper with an online service to pay her bills.

With support from Boston-based African Bridge Network, a partner organization of the SIIP Demonstration partnership opportunity, Toyosi has been able to secure a role with a local nonprofit focused on addressing hunger. She is now poised to advance her career in the U.S., but at least two million other college-educated immigrants and refugees still face underemployment. Policy reforms must address barriers that limit employment of immigrants and refugees who hold international credentials.

Rona’s Story

Rona worked as a nurse for three years in Afghanistan before completing a medical degree and practicing as a physician for two years. When ongoing political instability threatened her security, Rona moved to Kabul, where she worked with both the United Nations and USAID. Since resettlement to the U.S. three years ago, systemic barriers to licensure have prevented her from working as a physician. Limited recognition of her credentials and experience from Afghanistan mean that she needs to repeat her education and training to practice medicine in the U.S., a process that takes years and costs tens of thousands of dollars.

With support from Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates (WAIMG), an IMPRINT member organization, Rona is rebuilding her career in health care. She has worked as a medical interpreter and a patient care coordinator intern. She recently completed coursework to become a medical assistant and phlebotomist, and works part-time while studying to earn an associate degree in the U.S. She hopes to find a full-time job that will both support her family and help address growing health workforce shortages in Washington State.

Ivana’s Story

Ivana was a well-known journalist in Sudan and South Sudan, using her platform to advance gender equality. When she came to the U.S. in 2017, she took a role as a home-health aide. She works long hours to provide for her three children. Limited recognition of her prior experience has kept her from rebuilding her journalism career in the U.S. “But the hope is always there,” Ivana says.

Ivana is working with Upwardly Global, an IMPRINT member organization, to advance her career, but additional policy reforms are needed to address the barriers that limit employment for immigrants and refugees who hold international credentials.

Congress Passes the Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act

On September 19, 2023, the U.S. Congress passed the Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act. More than 200 partners joined the WES-led campaign to pass this bipartisan legislation, which directs the government to study the factors limiting employment opportunities for immigrants & refugees who hold credentials from another country.

Learn More

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