The IMPRINT Coalition launched in 2011 with five members and an ambitious goal: to advance policies and promising models that support the economic inclusion of internationally trained immigrants and refugees. A decade later, IMPRINT is nearly 30 members strong and includes service providers, advocacy organizations, and higher education institutions from across the United States. All are committed to addressing barriers to economic mobility.
Of the two million college-educated immigrants and refugees who are unemployed or underemployed in the U.S., sixty percent hold international credentials, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Systemic barriers prevent immigrants and refugees from contributing their valuable skills, talents, and experience to the U.S. workforce. These barriers include insufficient access to contextualized English language learning, lack of effective workforce development training, and limited recognition of international credentials.
Progress at the Federal and State Levels
There is growing momentum to address these systemic barriers. Last month, bipartisan federal legislation calling on the U.S. Department of Labor to study the factors that impact employment opportunities of internationally trained immigrants and refugees passed the U.S. Senate. The bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Several states have advanced important policy changes that serve as models for other states seeking to develop more inclusive workforces and ensure recognition of international credentials. Colorado passed a trailblazing bill to create a pathway to permanent licensure and advance the inclusion of international medical graduates (IMGs) in the state’s health care workforce. Virginia and Utah have enacted legislation that expands access to occupational licensure to internationally trained workers. In addition, Illinois, Maryland, New York, and Vermont have passed laws to study immigrant and refugee participation in the workforce and the barriers impeding immigrants and refugees who seek to enter in-demand fields, such as health care and mental health.
“We are encouraged by the bipartisan support for reform among state and federal policymakers,” said Jacki Esposito, director of the IMPRINT Coalition. “We plan to leverage this momentum and scale reforms across the U.S.”
Expanding Coalition Plays Critical Role
“IMPRINT is critical to advancing policy reforms that recognize international credentials,” said Mohamed Khalif, founder of Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates (WAIMG), newly elected member of IMPRINT’s steering committee. “IMPRINT mobilizes experts and advocates from across the country to build support for reforms. The coalition provides a forum for WAIMG to share our experience enacting reforms that opened licensing pathways to eligible international medical graduates in Washington State.”
The new IMPRINT member organizations are the American Immigration Council, Global Detroit, Global Talent, the Immigrant Learning Center, International Institute of Buffalo, Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (MIRC), One Refugee, Refugee Congress, Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), and Restore Education.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this change-making coalition. IMPRINT members are committed to shaping innovative policies that promote economic mobility and equity, while also addressing workforce challenges,” said Nili Sarit Yossinger, Refugee Congress executive director. “As an organization built and led by refugees, asylees, and other vulnerable migrants, we’re eager to partner with IMPRINT members and continue to build national momentum so that workers with refugee status have equitable access to economic opportunity in the U.S.”
IMPRINT’s #UntappedTalent campaign is advancing policies that are inclusive of all workers and that open pathways so that everyone has a fair chance of reaching their educational and career goals. Join us.