No matter the circumstance—fleeing from a  war zone or resettling in a new country—people in crisis need sustainable incomes and dignified work that provide them choices to meet their most pressing needs and shape their futures.

About RescueWorks

The International Rescue Committee’s 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 a suite of 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 and dignified options, whether they are starting a business in a refugee camp or learning new skills to launch a career in a developed economy.

Our services

Through RescueWorks, the IRC provides:

  • Work readiness and soft skill development
  • Individual employment coaching
  • Direct job placement assistance
  • Career pathway programs that lead to industry-aligned credentials and higher skill, higher wage jobs
  • Vocational English as a second language
  • Incumbent worker/workplace-based training
  • Youth-focused programs

Microenterprise development services:

  • Basic business and life skills training
  • Business planning/business plan development
  • Business grants and loans
  • Micro-entrepreneur academy
  • Business counseling
  • Savings and asset development for microenterprise

Supply and value chain development (rural employment):

  • Collective marketing
  • Extension services
  • Training and market support

More about our work:

Outcome in focus: Economic wellbeing

The IRC provides direct assistance for people around the world as they try to feed their families and find a safe place to live, and we work to improve livelihoods opportunities for long-term economic wellbeing.

Our programs: Workforce development in the U.S.

The IRC's workforce development programs are designed to help an exceptionally diverse group of new Americans and other vulnerable populations enter employment and build careers. 

Reports and resources

IRC report: Protecting the economic wellbeing of immigrants and refugees during COVID-19

The goal of this brief report is to provide a succinct, “real-time” snapshot of the main economic challenges that families are facing, adaptations that IRC programs are making, and the lessons that are emerging as the IRC continues to deliver economic empowerment programming across more than 20 U.S. cities.

IRC report: Ruled out of work: refugee women’s legal right to work

This briefing assesses the impact of the law on refugee women’s right to work and access economic opportunities in high refugee hosting countries. 

IRC resource: Building economies and communities that thrive: the case for investing in refugee workforce development

Collaborating with the IRC on RescueWorks offers companies a chance to grow the workforce and talent in new markets and expand business while affirming company commitments to social impact and community engagement.

IRC paper: Unlocking refugee women's potential

In accessing paid, decent work, refugee women face restrictive labor market laws, discrimination and increased threat of violence, as well as regulatory and administrative barriers. According to a new analysis conducted by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, in collaboration with the IRC, refugee women could generate up to $1.4 trillion toward annual global GDP if employment and wage gaps were closed.

IRC brief: Building America's new workforce

By exploring two examples of the IRC’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 briefoffers learnings on how to create solutions through thoughtful program design and strong partnerships with the private sector.

IRC paper: Skill, career and wage mobility among refugees

This paper analyzes refugee experiences moving into higher skill, higher wage jobs and suggests how findings from this analysis could inform key workforce development policy decisions at the federal, state and local levels.

IRC report: Choices, chances and safety in crisis: a model for women’s economic empowerment

Women are more likely to live in poorer households globally than men. This is particularly evident in places affected by conflict and crisis. This report discusses the impact of crisis on women’s economic empowerment and the limitations of recent responses.

IRC report: The cost of living: COVID-19 humanitarian cash transfers to prevent hunger and hardship

The IRC finds conflict-affected countries need $1.7B to limit potential hunger brought on by COVID-19, $760M needed in high refugee-hosting developing countries.

By the numbers

As the U.S. economy continues to change, new workers are needed. New Americans, including refugees, are critical to filling employment gaps.

7.3 million

unfilled jobs in the United States (as of Feb. 2019)—a record high.

The growing diversity of the U.S. workforce (17.1 percent foreign born) makes new Americans, including refugees, critical to filling these positions.

Read our report: Building America’s new workforce

1 million

new home health aides and personal care assistants will be needed by 2026.

A rising demand for health care, due to America’s aging population and expanded access to health insurance, has labor-market economists projecting that this industry will account for a significant amount of job growth.

Read our report: Building America’s new workforce


new transportation and logistics jobs will be added between 2016 and 2026.

From meal kits to Amazon Prime, the changing ways in which Americans purchase consumer goods are significantly impacting the U.S. transportation and logistics sector.

Read our report: Building America’s new workforce