From the Director: Upwardly Global reaches untapped economic power
By Steve Tobocman
In January, Global Detroit and Global Michigan kicked off a partnership with Upwardly Global, a nationally-recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to helping skilled immigrants join the professional U.S. workforce by offering career preparation guidance and training, and raising employer awareness. Through a generous grant from the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (NEI), Upwardly Global is expanding its Careers for New Americans website to include the professional licensing requirements of 10 common professions for which Michigan’s immigrant and refugee communities often possess the necessary skills and education, but may not understand the licensing requirements. Michigan will become the fourth state—in additional to California, New York, and Illinois—to have its professional licensing requirements chronicled by the Careers for New Americans site.
In addition to the inclusion of Michigan in the Careers for New Americans website, Global Detroit and Global Michigan are working to assist Upwardly Global in connecting with Michigan’s skilled immigrants and refugees to employers who have unmet talent needs, and with workforce development and social service agencies who service skilled immigrant professionals. The Global Detroit Welcome Mat represents a significant opportunity to help disseminate the information and tools provided by Upwardly Global to both the organizations servicing immigrants and professionals, as well as immigrants and refugees themselves.
While we are eagerly awaiting our June 20th public launch of the Upwardly Global work in Michigan, last week represented another exciting public launch. This month an intensive, third-party economic benefit analysis of Upwardly Global’s 2010-2011 work was unveiled. The analysis documented startling results about Upwardly Global’s impacts:
- The aggregate annual salary of the 561 program participants grew from $1.98 million to $19.8 million—a 900% increase! This meant that average salaries grew from $3,527 to $35,286.
- For the 102 program participants who had jobs before they joined the program, annual salaries increased from $16,967 to $37,490—a 121% increase!
- The public benefits from these impacts included an increase of $1.8 million in annualized income tax revenue; an estimated increase in annualize consumer spending of more than $16 million; and estimated 368 additional indirect jobs generated from their employment; and an estimated 311 additional induced jobs generated by the program participants’ increased spending power.
Like other states, Michigan possesses tremendous untapped economic power and potential in its immigrant and refugee populations. Skilled immigrants and refugees who are legally authorized to work are estimated to be 1.5 times as likely to be underemployed, out of work, or employed in fields outside of their needed expertise. Given the impacts that Upwardly Global has produced, we are eager and excited to have them as our partners here in Michigan.