Today, the U.S. Department of State announced the launch of the Welcome Corps at Work (WCW) program, a new initiative that offers a humanitarian solution to both skilled labor shortages in the United States and refugee displacement abroad. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) are proud to lead the implementation of the WCW, which connects U.S. employers with qualified refugees and, once employers make a concrete job offer, facilitates the refugees’ resettlement through private sponsor support.

“The Welcome Corps at Work represents a major innovation in how we connect resettled refugees to employment opportunities in the United States and empowers employers to play a leading role," said Ambassador Julieta Valls Noyes, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Populations, Refugees, and Migration. "For many refugees, meaningful employment is the first step to real, sustainable integration. It not only builds community but also restores a sense of dignity and identity, opening doors to a brighter future."

U.S. employers need skilled employees. Studies from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce demonstrate the need for more trained workers in the United States, particularly in the fields of healthcare, information technology, education, and manufacturing. The WCW presents a unique solution to fill these workforce gaps by pairing employers in need of specialized labor with skilled refugees fleeing persecution, violence, and oppression.

While overseas, refugees are matched with U.S. employers based on their skills and receive support to navigate the job interview process. If they receive a job offer, the WCW team will refer the refugees to the U.S. resettlement program and recruit a private sponsor group to support them upon arrival. The private sponsor group provides resettlement and integration services to newly arrived refugees for 90 days after arrival. This support includes assistance with housing, basic necessities, and connections to schools and medical care – similar to the services provided by traditional resettlement agencies.

The Welcome Corps at Work is a refugee resettlement program distinct from labor visa pathways. Refugees resettled through the Welcome Corps at Work program are processed through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP)arriving with refugee status and a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

Hans Van de Weerd, Senior Vice President for Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration with the International Rescue Committee, said:

“Many refugees worked as skilled professionals in their home countries before they were forced to flee. The Welcome Corps at Work is an innovative solution to their humanitarian needs as well as the economic needs of U.S. employers. Through the WCW, refugees can achieve economic stability and long-term integration in the United States, while U.S. businesses can hire the workforce needed to thrive. We’re proud to launch this new program alongside our partners.”

Betsy Fisher, U.S. Director with Talent Beyond Boundaries, said:

“We’re thrilled to see the launch of the Welcome Corps at Work. This program stands as a groundbreaking bridge for refugees to connect with meaningful employment opportunities here in the United States. Through the WCW, we’re not only addressing the critical talent demands of U.S. employers, but also championing the right of displaced people to rebuild their lives and thrive.”

The Welcome Corps at Work is a program of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) from the U.S. Department of State. The International Rescue Committee administers the program and partners with Talent Beyond Boundaries. The program seeks to add labor mobility to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program through private sponsorship. To learn more about Welcome Corps at Work, visit theWelcome Corps website or contact [email protected].