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Over 1.8 million college-educated immigrants in the U.S. are unemployed or considerably underemployed despite having worked as engineers, doctors, scientists, accountants, and nonprofit professionals in their home countries. They often fill jobs including taxi drivers, security guards, or dishwashers that do not match the level of education they have received; they find themselves more likely to be in poverty than their counterparts born in the U.S.
Upwardly Global, also known as "UpGlo," is working to combat this disparity. It provides skilled immigrants to the U.S. with training, support, and exposure to companies looking to hire internationally trained talent. This work is part of its mission to close the opportunity gap and help skilled immigrants reach their full economic potential in the U.S.
The organization was originally founded to fill a specific gap in immigrant and refugee services after Jane Leu, UpGlo's founder, took a tour of a poultry plant. Although that plant was considered a model employer for refugees at the time, Jane met employees who included a former engineer from Iraq and a surgeon from Bosnia. She realized there was no infrastructure to help highly skilled immigrants regain their careers and contribute to the U.S. at their full potential.
As UpGlo scaled and expanded to become a national organization, it continued to eliminate employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees and integrate this population into the professional workforce. Currently operating in Chicago, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Silver Spring, Maryland, Upwardly Global also supports clients across the U.S. through its Job Seeker Services Program.
UpGlo staff members understand the role they have to play in the larger immigration services landscape. Thus, they have built a best-in-class program by developing and honing that expertise.
UpGlo was able to support its rapid growth as an organization by enhancing its communications methods with GoToMeeting from LogMeIn (formerly Citrix). Meghan Lewit is Upwardly Global's senior associate for marketing communications. She notes, "Our organization and program are growing rapidly and touching thousands more immigrant and refugee professionals across the country.
"In order to meet the demand, we needed to integrate regional offices and functions that had operated more independently into a cohesive national team. This called for more effective communication technology." The organization currently uses the technology both for cross-office communications, as well as for orientation sessions with job seekers, a crucial first step in the job-search training program.
In response to the ongoing global refugee crisis, Upwardly Global just launched refugee-specific services and courses. It also expanded its online training program with refugee-specific networks that enable learners to connect with one another, access specialized mentors and volunteers, and identify opportunities for professional growth.
As part of its model of success, Upwardly Global is very data-driven and integrates metrics into every aspect of its program. Staff members evaluate how its participants are contributing to the economy, how their incomes are growing, and their job retention rates. Lewit explains that this has "helped the organization to pivot and make strategic decisions based on what we know is working, and enables us to report robust impact data to funders and stakeholders."
To date, the organization has trained over 11,000 skilled immigrants and helped more than 4,000 skilled immigrants land jobs in their career fields.
LogMeIn has helped thousands of nonprofits like Upwardly Global improve their communications efforts and expand their reach. The LogMeIn donation program offers special discounted rates for collaboration, remote access, IT support, and web conferencing services to eligible nonprofits, charities, and public libraries throughout the United States. To see if your organization is eligible for TechSoup's LogMeIn product discounts, please visit TechSoup's LogMeIn program page.
This blog post was written by Gabrielle Sharaga.
All images used with permission of Upwardly Global © 2017.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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