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NEW YORK, NY—(June 24, 2022) Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed the Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act, S.3157, bipartisan legislation that calls on the U.S. Department of Labor to study the systemic barriers that impact internationally trained immigrants’ and refugees’ employment opportunities and issue recommendations for reform. The measure received strong bipartisan support as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 (NDAA) in September 2021, but after a compromise was reached that removed many amendments from the NDAA Congress passed a revised version of the defense spending bill that did not include the study. The bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives.
At least two million college-educated immigrants and refugees are currently underemployed or unemployed in the U.S.; sixty percent hold international credentials, according to the Migration Policy Institute. This historic legislation makes progress toward strengthening the U.S. workforce and promoting the economic mobility of internationally trained immigrant and refugee workers.
“The Senate’s passage of the Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act is a recognition of the critical need to address systemic barriers that prevent immigrants and refugees who hold international credentials from restarting their careers in the U.S.,” said Esther Benjamin, CEO and Executive Director of World Education Services (WES). “Several states across the country have implemented reforms to open pathways to ensure that everyone can reach their educational and career goals in the U.S. Now Congress must do its part to promote economic justice and more inclusive, equitable workforces.”
World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. For more than 45 years, WES has set the standard of excellence in the field of international academic credential evaluation. Through WES Global Talent Bridge, the organization joins with institutional partners, community-based organizations, and policymakers to help immigrants and refugees who hold international credentials fully utilize their talents and education to achieve their academic and professional goals. Its philanthropic arm, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, supports catalytic leaders and organizations working to build inclusive economies and to ensure that immigrants and refugees can achieve their aspirations and thrive.
Based at WES, the IMPRINT Coalition advances public policy and promising models that support the economic inclusion of immigrants and refugees who hold international credentials in the U.S. The IMPRINT Coalition envisions a United States that values the education, skills, and experience of immigrants and refugees and ensures equitable access to pathways for success. In September 2021 the Coalition launched the #UntappedTalent: Inclusive Economies for All 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. Learn more about the #UntappedTalent campaign.