WES Global Talent Bridge’s Skilled Immigrant Integration Program (SIIP) has been building momentum over the past four years, growing its dynamic network of communities working to promote the workforce inclusion of immigrants and refugees across the nation. Now, the program will deepen its impact through the inaugural SIIP Demonstration opportunity.
The opportunity will support selected communities that are demonstrating innovative approaches to promoting the workforce inclusion of immigrants and refugees. These initiatives focus on two key areas: fostering the inclusion of internationally trained health care workers and leveraging immigrant and refugee professional networks to promote workforce inclusion.
The selected partners are Massachusetts-based African Bridge Network (ABN), the Nevada Governor’s Office for New Americans (ONA), the Office of Global Michigan, Restore Education, leading the statewide consortium, Synergy Texas AEL, and the Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates (WAIMG).
To promote equitable workforce opportunities in the health sector, African Bridge Network plans to develop a pipeline through training and employer partnerships, so that internationally trained health workers can pursue high-demand careers in Massachusetts’ biomedical industry. WAIMG will focus on developing a program to move forward with the implementation of recent legislation that creates a pathway for international medical graduates (IMGs) to receive medical licensure in Washington State. This program will serve as a potential blueprint for other states to bolster and diversify their health care workforces.
Lacking access to a professional network and social capital also contributes to the underemployment and unemployment of immigrants and refugees. In the WES Global Talent Bridge “Steps to Success” survey, 41 percent of respondents who had many friends and family in the U.S. had found work that utilized their higher education, compared with just 20 percent of those who had no friends or family to support them.
Restore Education in Texas will focus on creating a network linking organizations to support the development of immigrant and refugee professional networks. Core goals of the initiative include collaborating with internationally trained immigrant and refugee workers, promoting a statewide workforce development infrastructure, and strengthening partnerships and increasing knowledge-sharing across sectors.
The Office of Global Michigan is creating a program to support professional networking and the targeted employment of internationally trained and often multi-lingual candidates to better serve the state’s growing immigrant and refugee population. Finally, the Nevada Governor’s ONA plans to enhance its Immigrant Workforce Development Group to engage more immigrant and refugee networks in the development of better workforce services throughout the state. The group will continue to identify and address the barriers to employment faced by many in Nevada’s immigrant and refugee communities.