Guest Post: How advocates can advance immigrant workforce issues at the state and local level
By Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, National Skills Coalition
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock and the National Skills Coalition (NSC) last Friday released a new report, At the Intersection of Immigration and Skills Policy: A Roadmap to Smart Policies for State and Local Leaders, which illustrates various strategies states and localities are implementing to improve access to education and workforce for immigrants. The report focuses on the fast-growing phenomenon of state Offices of New Americans and city Offices of Immigrant Affairs, and their intersection with public workforce and education agencies as these offices are most frequently the implementer of inclusive policies around education and workforce.
WE Global is proud and motivated by a few of our takeaways from the report:
- The welcoming movement is stronger than ever and continues to grow. The report shows that “Six states and 30 cities now have immigrant affairs offices, while more than 90 communities have launched ‘welcoming’ initiatives, some of which are housed within municipal government.”
- For years now WE Global has been celebrating leadership and action at the state and local levels, which are critical especially now, during the current immigration stalemate at the federal level. This report too highlights the exceptional forward thinking leadership and “palpable energy at the state and local levels.”
- Rust Belt leaders have a large part in leading the way. Almost half of the examples NSC uses in the report to highlight strategies are taken from cities and states in the WE Global Network 10-state region (IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NY, OH, PA, WI).
- The report underscores the importance of economic integration, including education and workforce development, as an important element of immigrant integration, and notes that “Public officials and the broader community of business and civic stakeholders are recognizing the important role that workforce and adult education policies play in ensuring a robust talent pipeline for local employers.”
A primary goal of WE Global is to help facilitate best practice sharing across the region so that effective strategies can help communities new to the movement develop their own local initiatives. WE Global is grateful for partners like Amanda and NSC that are analyzing immigrant integration initiatives to understand their impact and transfer the learnings of these pioneers to other communities to help them build more inclusive communities and economies.