Global Talent Bridge Partner Blog

News on practice and policy affecting internationally trained immigrants and refugees

Spotlight on Santa Clara, California

Friday May 4, 2018 | by WES Global Talent Bridge

The Refugee and Immigrant Forum (RIF) of Santa Clara County Professional Refugees Subcommittee is leading Santa Clara’s participation in the Global Talent Bridge Skilled Immigrant Integration Program (SIIP). The RIF subcommittee was formed in 2016 after a White House National Skills and Credential Institute convening. The subcommittee has created local initiatives, and meets monthly to plan, implement, and evaluate progress.

The group has three aims for their involvement in the project:

  • working with government and community college partners to develop pathways for skilled immigrants and refugees;
  • developing a website and a Facebook page for the Refugee and Immigrant Forum as access points for educating others and engaging partners in the network; and
  • expanding their employer engagement with an education component.

The program has been instrumental in refining the Subcommittee’s work plan, particularly around the issue of engaging academic institutions in their work. RIF’s engagement with WES and other national providers (CCCIE and Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians) is helping to craft a specific agenda around educational and career pathways opportunities for skilled immigrants in Santa Clara County.

Katherine Gebremedhin, director of partnerships and program development at WES Global Talent Bridge, recently visited the forum along with community college and non-profit leaders from across the county, to discuss how to create more opportunities for skilled immigrants to re-enter their careers. Along with WES, ALLIES (one of the subcommittee members responsible for providing technical assistance to local institutions) outlined their new initiative on guided career pathways for refugees and immigrants.

While ALLIES works to create opportunities, they called on all partners present to think critically about how to integrate skilled immigrants into a more strategic county-wide plan. RIF plans to work closely with the SIIP program to forge next steps on this important issue and move the work forward.

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WES Global Talent Bridge is a program dedicated to helping skilled immigrants fully utilize their talents and education in the United States and Canada. Global Talent Bridge joins with institutional partners and community organizations to help skilled immigrants leverage their training, achieve their professional goals, and contribute their talents to their full potential.