Helping Skilled Immigrants Integrate into Lincoln's Workforce

Lincoln receives more refugees more per capita than any city in the nation. Many refugees and immigrants arrive in Lincoln with experience as doctors, accountants, lawyers, veterinarians, engineers and more. However, many of our newest citizens are unsure about the process to become certified to reenter their careers in Lincoln.

Lincoln’s New Americans Task Force has been selected as one of eight participating communities and states for World Education Services and its Global Talent Bridge program in 2019.  The Task Force brings together all agencies focused on immigrants and refugees to coordinate resources and efforts around career pathways The Task Force includes all agencies that serve immigrants and refugees.

Lincoln’s inclusion into the program has also been featured in various local media. KLKN-TV Channel 8 featured the program in a piece that aired on May 3 (https://www.klkntv.com/story/40415697/city-of-lincoln-chosen-for-national-immigrant-employment-program) in addition to a story from the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper that ran on April 16 (https://journalstar.com/business/local/lincoln-chosen-for-jobs-initiative-for-skilled-immigrants/article_89494232-5ab5-5fc2-9ea7-5b8ec201bd52.html) and from KFOR Radio (https://www.kfornow.com/lincoln-selected-for-skilled-immigrant-and-refugee-initiative/) on the same date. Interest around the program and what it can do for skilled immigrants and refugees in the area as well as for local employers continues to build.

A recent survey by New American Economy found that nearly 29% of immigrants in Lincoln over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is close to the national average. The same study found that of the 7.6 million college educated immigrants in the United States, 1.9 million of them—or nearly 1 in 4—are either working in low-skilled jobs or are unemployed, an effect known as “brain drain.”

The goal is for the program to build on partnerships between agencies, individuals, and businesses to forge better connections and hire the most talented people possible.

LPED Director of Workforce Development Bryan Seck is excited to link area employers with skilled people from all over the globe who have decided to forge a new path in Lincoln.

“This effort will help us re-connect our newest immigrant and refugee neighbors to their skills and professions. I cannot wait to get started on this work and help a person who was a doctor, machinist, or lawyer in their home country practice their trade in Lincoln.”

WES will oversee the program and provide customized technical assistance to further and enhance the integration of skilled immigrants into the workforce. Each community in this year’s program receives hands-on-coaching, advising and web-based seminars from WES’ Global Talent Bridge team on how to maximize immigrant professional integration.

After starting the program in 2018, WES Director of State and Local Initiatives, Katherine Gebremedhin, says the involvement of the cities and states in 2018 was positive, with each meeting or nearly meeting their desired outcomes through the program for skilled immigrant integration into the workforce.

“Every city or state made significant progress to attain and achieve those outcomes for 2018, so we’re hoping to see the same level or even better for those in the program this year.”

The efforts of the New Americans Task Force, EmployLNK and other organizations in Lincoln relating to immigrant immigration, such as Lutheran Family Services, Catholic Social Services, Center for People in Need, Appleseed, the Asian Community and Cultural Center and many others, have provided a track record of success that ultimately enhanced and secured Lincoln’s selection to participate in the WES program.
Gebremedhin praised the ongoing efforts of Lincoln to integrate and accept immigrants into the community with open arms.

“You have a long history of Lincoln doing this work. It’s really exciting to see the focus on that population that’s highly educated and how you can look at solutions to what you can build here for that population.”

If you or your business would like to be involved in the program or want more information, please contact Bryan Seck at bseck@selectlincoln.org or at 402.436.2365.
 

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