2019 was a banner year for Upwardly Global, one that positioned us—as an organization, a community, and a country—to weather the change and volatility we now face in 2020. The record-level 1,004 job seekers UpGlo coached back into professional careers in 2019 are now part of a diverse, resilient, and adaptable workforce that will help us navigate the economic disruptions and uncertainties that are emerging as our new normal. Our ability to scale our work couldn’t come at a more critical time. For context, it took Upwardly Global 11 years to place our first 1,000 people. Now, as our platform has grown, the potential to change both individual lives and collective paradigms is transformative. Our growing roster of success stories positions us to impact critical national conversations about how immigrant integration in the workforce can build shared prosperity for all Americans, and help us navigate the continued changes ahead. Read More >
While 85 percent of our job seekers in 2019 experienced poverty before entering our program, our alumni earned an average annual salary of more than $57,000. Working in high-demand STEM fields and filling gaps in other critical sectors, they were able to support their families and contribute millions in taxes to their communities.
2019 saw continued shifts in the way we work and in who is working -- changes that will continue in 2020 and beyond. Immigrants and their children will comprise 83 percent of the growth of our workforce over the next three decades, and 47 percent of recently-arrived immigrants have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In tandem, we should be moving away from the status quo of survival jobs to a model in which immigrant professionals and all people can fully contribute their skills, especially at a time when we will need skills to fill critical labor gaps in healthcare and elsewhere.
That’s why UpGlo’s expert coaching now extends to workforce partners, advancing a shared effort to build equitable hiring systems and career pathways. We must champion all talent as we prioritize diversity and inclusion in work; advance “soft” skills, such as creative problem-solving, and effective communication, alongside reskilling and upskilling agendas; and build narratives around new Americans’ multilingual abilities, diverse worldviews, and resilience as assets in a future-ready workforce. UpGlo is redoubling investment in being a learning organization to continue to innovate in our programs and harness best practices and tools to better enable the workforce field. We will continue to boldly invest in technology to build remote-accessible pathways for our full workforce system: job seekers, employers, policy partners, and local government.
In 2019, we set the stage for a resilient, adaptive workforce to move our country forward. And now, in 2020, it is clear that resilience will be tested in ways we never imagined. But I am also seeing our community of job seekers, partners, volunteers, and supporters come together in a spirit of collaboration and determination to build a stronger shared future. I am inspired by your partnership, and thank you for being a part of our deepening work and mission.
President & CEO, Upwardly Global
All of this work is made possible because of collaborations with outstanding peer nonprofits, companies, local government entities, and individual supporters like you:
PATHWAYS: A record number of immigrant job seekers came to UpGlo in 2019 to escape unemployment and overcome underemployment. We prepared them for the workforce, utilizing new technologies and customized coaching to equip them with the skills they need and credentials that are reflective of their professional experience.
PARTNERSHIPS: In 2019, we forged successful partnerships with 55 employers across the country, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to local businesses. Our employer partners placed immigrant job seekers and created spaces where hundreds of volunteers engaged with our talent as mentors. For example, investments from Accenture helped enhance our e-learning platform, created opportunities for 600 job seekers to practice their interviewing and networking skills, and supported our testing of an employer-designed upskilling curriculum for our job seekers to enhance their skills in high-demand fields.
Support from World Education Services helped UpGlo launched an exciting project with major companies to co-design solutions that will help employers better hire, integrate and advance skilled immigrants into the professional workforce.
PROSPERITY: This year, we were also excited to engage with peer organizations and funders to demonstrate how our work creates shared prosperity in our country. We know that when job seekers secure a thriving wage in an in-demand career field, they create ten-fold returns in their community, with their families, and for their employers. Key and important collaborators in these efforts have been local government agencies, including Ohio’s Toledo Lucas County. These groups have been both early adopters of Jobversity, which scales this work by training front-line staff on how to coach skilled immigrants into career pathways, and valued thought-partners in our work to break down barriers in their local communities for immigrant job seekers.
As we look back on our success in 2019 and consider the opportunities before us in 2020, we are deeply grateful to all of the supporters listed in this report who helped us unlock opportunity. In addition, we are indebted to each individual, including hundreds of alumni, who supported UpGlo’s efforts. We, along with our outstanding Board and an ever-growing group of advocates and friends, are very proud to guide and support Upwardly Global forward as it helps bring to life our shared vision of a United States where skilled immigrants are seamlessly integrated into the professional workforce and the fabric of American life, and are recognized for the value they add to both. We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2020.
Co-Chairs, Upwardly Global Board of Directors
* Most 2019 alumni were either unemployed or underemployed before completing our program.
85% experienced poverty before placement. Average income gain for alumni with previous employment was $27,137
** Amount added to economy = 1004 alumni x $49,889 income gain
"In Venezuela, I was at the top of my field. I worked for one of the largest financial groups in the world, provided technical assistance around foreign currency exchange, and taught at a top-ranked university. Circumstances changed, and I had to seek political asylum in the U.S.
I had to learn everything from scratch. I had no professional network, no idea how to even begin to rebuild the career I had left behind. It took two years for my family to be able to join me, and then I had to leave them again, searching for better job opportunities in a different U.S. city.
I worked for a cable contractor and for several manufacturing companies. I operated a forklift and handled industrial machinery. I learned a tremendous amount from these experiences, but for myself and my family I desperately wanted to get back to my professional life.
When my asylum case was approved, I decided to reinvent myself and retrain for a career in data analytics. But I didn’t know how to make this dream for me and my family a reality or where to turn.
Fortunately, I found Upwardly Global to partner with me in this journey. My job coach connected me with opportunities to learn new skills—both the technical skills for my new field and the job-search skills I’d need to eventually land a job.
I am now a data analyst for an organization that provides financing to nonprofits and community organizations. The day I accepted my job, I knew my family truly had a future in the U.S.
UpGlo created a path forward for my family and for me. And in turn, I am proud that I am putting my new skills to work creating positive change in communities.”
"As a multinational company, Visa is committed to sourcing top global talent and to empowering our people to share diverse voices and perspectives at the table. Our partnership with Upwardly Global has helped us live these value--and to access incredible talent that we would not have been aware of otherwise.
From software engineers, financial analysts, to project managers, our colleagues who have come through Upwardly Global not only have the technical expertise to help our company innovate and grow, but also the strong interpersonal skills necessary to navigate a global marketplace. They are problem solvers, and they are adept at maneuvering in complex situations.
You want people at your organization that are great, that are aligned with your values, and that can really thrive. Partnering with UpGlo has been a critical pathway to finding talent and engaging our teams to create a more inclusive workforce."
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FOR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
"In Lucas County, Ohio, we have successfully piloted UpGlo’s Jobversity platform to train more than 30 local workforce and service providers on how to better support newcomers with professional backgrounds.
Our local immigrant and refugee inclusion initiative—Welcome Toledo-Lucas County (TLC)—convenes a cross-sector network of regional partners to build a welcoming community for immigrants, refugees, and people of diverse cultures.
Before completing the Jobversity Practitioner Learning Pathway training module, most--if not all--of our workforce and job center staff had no experience with issues such as credential evaluation of foreign degrees. They had limited experience in assisting job seekers in navigating the cultural nuances of a professional U.S. job search.
After completing Jobversity, our staff now has a much greater understanding of how to effectively support immigrant and refugee clients, helping them contribute their prior education and training into professional careers and in-demand jobs in our region. Ensuring that all of our local residents can put their skills to work is what powers Lucas County’s economy.
The Jobversity Practitioner Learning Pathway training has been an incredible resource for Welcome TLC. We hope to make this an annual training for workforce staff and service providers. We look forward to growing our partnership with Upwardly Global in the years to come.”
Unaudited 2019 numbers
Click on graphic below to display amounts.
“The WES Mariam Assefa Fund is committed to ensuring immigrants and refugees can access quality jobs and have the tools and skills needed to advance. Crucial to this goal is encouraging U.S. employers to adopt inclusive hiring practices and invest in immigrant and refugee employees. We’re proud to support Upwardly Global—a longtime partner of WES— as they work with employers across sectors to pilot new solutions in the workplace—and in turn, create a new norm in HR and workplace practices. By advancing equity for immigrant and refugee talent and enabling them to fully leverage their education and skills, Upwardly Global is a true leader in the immigrant integration space and in the diversity, equity, and inclusion field more broadly.”
Monica Munn, Senior Director of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund
“Social Impact at BlackRock is committed to advancing a more inclusive and sustainable economy. We’re proud to partner with Upwardly Global because we share their conviction that providing job assistance to foreign-born professionals not only transforms individual livelihoods, but also creates stronger and more sustainable economies for host communities. Since 2019, BlackRock’s support has helped 1,000 of these job seekers rebuild their careers, increasing their salary, on average, $58,000.”
Deborah Winshel, Global Head, Social Impact at BlackRock,
and President of the BlackRock Foundation
“Upwardly Global was one of the Fondation Chanel’s first partners in the United States. We were impressed by their ability to address numerous opportunities at once: creating economic security for women and families, promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and celebrating the economic and cultural contributions of America’s immigrants and refugees. Supporting women’s economic security and viable career pathways is central to the global mission of the Fondation CHANEL. Partnering with Upwardly Global has enabled us to support a critical population: highly skilled immigrant women who are working in survival jobs well below their skill level. We are delighted to work with Upwardly Global to support women to re-ignite fascinating, impactful careers.”
Adeline Azrack, Head of US Programs, Fondation CHANEL
We are grateful to all who support our vision of a United States where immigrants are seamlessly integrated into the professional workforce and the fabric of American life, and are recognized for the value they add to both.