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RescueWorks: Building America's new workforce

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The year 2019 has brought America one of its tightest labor markets in recent history, an economic trend coalescing with changing workforce demographics and ongoing uncertainty around the nation’s immigration policies and practices. This brief aims to look at these issues together and highlight the growing need, and critical value, of welcoming refugees and other New Americans into the labor market.

By exploring two 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.—health care and transportation and logistics—this brief offers learnings on how to create solutions through thoughtful program design and strong partnerships with the private sector.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are 7.3 million unfilled jobs in the United States—a record number— and the growing diversity of the U.S. workforce (17.1 percent foreign born) makes New Americans, including refugees, critical to filling these positions.
  • Health care and transportation and logistics, among the fastest growing industries in the U.S., are generating demand for well-trained, qualified candidates. The health care section will need more than 1million new home health aides and personal-care assistants by 2026. Between 2016 and 2026, the transportation and logistics sector will add nearly 700,000 new jobs. Indeed, the average age of truck drivers in the U.S. is 55, placing them among America’s oldest workforce.
  • 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.
  • Without a steady supply of new workers to meet the needs of a changing labor market, the U.S. risks a slowdown of critical services and a contraction of the economy. Investing in workforce development programs that build an inclusive economy will strengthen local, regional and national economies. With strong partnership and investment from both the public and private sectors, America can ensure that the next generation of workers is ready to contribute to a thriving economy.

Meet a New American. 

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