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Press Release

New IRC Analysis: Refugees, New Americans Pursuing In-Demand Jobs in United States’ Tightest Labor Markets 

  • Analysis of The IRC’s training and placement of 9,000 workers in 26 U.S. cities indicates New Americans are seeking and finding jobs in healthcare, transportation and logistics
  • As millions of U.S. jobs go unfilled in growth sectors, holding back the U.S. economy, New Americans are critical to filling the gap
  • The IRC’s experts outline improvements needed to the support provided to New Americans embarking on careers vital to economic growth

Today, the International Rescue Committee (The IRC) released a new report titled Building America’s New Workforce. Analyzing labor market trends, changing workforce demographics and the nation’s current immigration policies and practices - the report shares experience from helping over 9,000 clients each year enter the workforce across the U.S., and demonstrates the growing need and critical value of welcoming refugees and other New Americans into the labor market.

Ellen Beattie, senior director of program quality and innovation at the International Rescue Committee, said:

“Sectors like healthcare, and transportation and logistics, are facing dangerously short labor supplies – holding back U.S. economic growth and productivity. The IRC’s analysis shows how refugees and other New Americans not only want to pursue jobs in these sectors, but that they can thrive in industries desperately in need of new labor supply.

“Current policies pursued by the Trump administration are drastically cutting the arrivals of New Americans, and while we know this is leaving people in danger – whether Syrian refugees or Central American asylum seekers – it is also likely to be damaging the U.S. economy and undermining key sectors vital to growth.

“Our experience shows that through strong partnership and investment in New American career development, from both the public and private sectors, America can ensure that the next generation of workers are ready to contribute to a thriving economy.”

By exploring two specific examples of the International Rescue Committee’s efforts to prepare new Americans for careers in two of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. – healthcare and transportation and logistics – this brief also offers learnings on how strategies to create solutions through thoughtful program design and strong partnerships with the private sector.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • There are 7.3 million unfilled American jobs – a record – and the growing diversity of our workforce (17.1 percent who are foreign born) makes New Americans, including refugees, critical to filling these gaps.
  • Healthcare and transportation and logistics are among the fastest growing industries in the United States and have some of the greatest needs for well-trained, qualified candidates. More than one million new home health aides and personal care assistants will be needed by 2026. The average age of truck drivers in the U.S. is 55 – it’s among America’s oldest workforce. Between 2016 and 2026, the transportation and logistics sector will add nearly 700,000 new jobs.
  • Last year, The IRC worked with 1,000 employers in 26 cities to find and advance jobs for 9,000 New Americans. Job training programs that support refugees and other New Americans reduce labor shortages in key industries and restore economic vitality to communities.  

To learn more, view the full report here.

Building America’s New Workforce is the first piece of analysis from IRC’s new RescueWorks initiative: RescueWorks programming deploys evidence-based solutions that not only save lives and rebuild livelihoods, but also contribute to the economic vitality and growth of local communities. RescueWorks also provides a platform for new ideas and change across the humanitarian sector.

About RescueWorks at The IRC

From Syria to Sacramento, RescueWorks invests in people and communities to enhance the skills, income and financial capabilities of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

No matter the circumstance—surviving in a war zone or job hunting in a new country—people in crisis are empowered by sustainable incomes that provide them choices to meet their most pressing needs and shape their futures. RescueWorks programming deploys evidence-based solutions that not only save lives and rebuild livelihoods, but also contribute to the economic vitality and growth of local communities.

In addition to programming, RescueWorks provides a platform for new ideas and change across the humanitarian sector. We work with businesses and corporations, local governments and community leaders, academics and policy makers to keep our programs on the cutting edge of global labor trends. Our goal is to provide refugees with sustainable options, whether they are starting a business in a refugee camp or learning new skills to launch a career in a developed economy. Learn more about RescueWorks here.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.