From the Director: Upwardly Global launches in Michigan

By Steve Tobocman

On Thursday, June 20th about 50 people joined Global Detroit and Global Michigan in welcoming Upwardly Global staff to Michigan to unveil the Upwardly Global online licensing guides. Michigan became just the 4th state in the nation to have these extremely helpful guides for common professions that immigrants and refugees come equipped to pursue. Specifically, Upwardly Global has developed Michigan guides for accountants, architects, dentists, engineers, lawyers, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, physicians, and teachers. These are not only skilled professions that immigrants and refugees often possess most, if not all, of the necessary education and practical experience to pursue, but they are professions in high demand.

During the event, Upwardly Global had effusive praise for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) as being the most supportive and helpful of any state they have encountered. Surely, Global Detroit and Upwardly Global greatly benefited during this project from the support of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his Global Michigan effort. Assisting skilled immigrants and refugees connect with meaningful careers has been one of Global Michigan’s five priority projects.

The licensing guides developed are super helpful. All 10 guides have the identical format and include sections on the legal requirements of getting licensed, estimated costs that a professional applicant will incur (including test exams costs, estimated costs of private test prep work when needed, etc.). The guides provide incredibly helpful tips to the applicant, such as notes when test scores are important, how long it could take to move through the entire process, how to best order the processing, etc.

In short, America is home to nearly 2 million skilled immigrants and refugees who possess the education and practical experience to be valued professionals in the workforce, but who are underemployed or unemployed mostly due to their inability to navigate and connect with the pathways to professional employment. In fact, immigrant and refugee professionals are 1.5 times as likely as their native born counterparts to be underemployed or unemployed.

By developing these new licensing guides and connecting Michigan immigrant and refugee service providers to them, Global Detroit, Global Michigan and Upwardly Global hope to put the state ahead in integrating skilled immigrants and refugees who can help meet Michigan unmet talent needs. Combined with the Welcoming Michigan campaign, the Global Detroit Welcome Mat, the Global Talent Retention Initiative, and ProsperUS programs emanating from the Global Detroit report, our region has now launched a diverse array of programs that will enable us to take advantage of any federal immigration reform in welcoming and successfully integrating immigrants, refugees and New Americans to our community and economy.

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