World Education Services Announces Eight U.S. Communities to Join the Skilled Immigrant Integration Program

WES’ Network of Immigrant and Refugee Economic Integration Advocates Now Comprises 32 Communities Across the U.S.

NEW YORK, June 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- World Education Services (WES) today announced the expansion of its Skilled Immigrant Integration Program (SIIP) to include eight new member communities working to ensure immigrant- and refugee-inclusive economies.

WES launched SIIP in 2017 as part of its effort to support local, regional, and statewide initiatives aimed at addressing the underemployment of immigrants and refugees with skills and education earned abroad. The program now comprises 32 community-based networks of state and city government agencies, community colleges, and non-profit organizations. It is administered by WES Global Talent Bridge.

At the national level, underemployment of this population is costly. The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that immigrants themselves forgo $39 billion in potential earnings each year, which translates to $10 billion in unrealized tax payments. Local and state economies likewise suffer deep losses. For instance, from 2009 to 2013, underemployment led to an estimated $9.4 billion annual earnings deficit among college-educated immigrants in California and almost $7 million in forgone state and local tax revenues. MPI recently reported that such numbers have budged little in the ensuing years.

Previous participants in the Skilled Immigrant Integration Program have used SIIP to develop new frameworks, resources, and initiatives that drive systemic changes designed to remedy such losses and ensure that immigrants are able to put their skills and training to work. In 2020, New Jersey’s newly established Office of New Americans participated in SIIP as part of its efforts to increase English language skills and provide access to employment services for the 23 percent of the state’s residents who are immigrants. Similarly, participation in SIIP’s 2020 cohort helped the Nevada Governor’s Office for New Americans (ONA) to jump-start the states efforts to ensure development of immigrant-inclusive workforce initiatives.

The newest city-level members of the national SIIP network are Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; and South Bend, Indiana. New county- and regional-level members are Howard County, Maryland, and Northwest Arkansas. New states joining this year’s cohort are Minnesota, Utah, and Virginia. The network now comprises 32 communities across the nation, from Alaska to Maine to Arkansas to California and beyond. Selected communities receive customized technical assistance and coaching from WES and its national partners, as well as access to a collaborative network of SIIP alumni who have already identified the tools and strategies needed to build immigrant-inclusive economies.

“The addition of these eight new communities will broaden and deepen the impact of the SIIP network. It will also enable immigrants and refugees to contribute more fully to state and local economies across the nation,” said Paul Feltman, deputy executive director for global talent policy and programs at WES. “And just as importantly, it will improve immigrants’ livelihoods by ensuring they are able to identify and access localized pathways to using their skills, training, and experience to achieve professional success.”

In order to be selected for SIIP, communities must be part of a local, regional, or state network of stakeholders that includes immigrant- and refugee-led organizations and BIPOC communities. They must also demonstrate commitment to and leadership of initiatives that foster the professional success of immigrants and refugees who have international education and experience.

“In all corners of the U.S., government leaders and organizations that are part of SIIP are actively collaborating so that immigrants and refugees can put their skills and talents to work,” said WES CEO and Executive Director Esther Benjamin. “As the country continues to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, the emerging SIIP network will be foundational to the creation of the diverse, inclusive society that is this nation’s most promising future. Contributing to and learning from the network’s efforts is inspirational.”

About World Education Services (WES)
World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. For more than 45 years, WES has set the standard of excellence in the field of international academic credential evaluation. Through WES Global Talent Bridge, the organization joins with institutional partners, community-based organizations, and policymakers to help immigrants and refugees who hold international credentials fully utilize their talents and education to achieve their academic and professional goals. Its philanthropic arm, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, supports catalytic leaders and organizations working to build inclusive economies and to ensure that immigrants and refugees can achieve their aspirations and thrive.

About the Skilled Immigrant Integration Program (SIIP)
The Skilled Immigrant Integration Program (SIIP) offers communities an opportunity to leverage technical assistance from WES and its national partners and to join a network of communities to further their state and local immigrant economic integration initiatives. The SIIP network consists of 32 member communities, a combination of cities, states, and regions across the U.S. The current member communities are Atlanta, Georgia; Anchorage, Alaska; Boise/Twin Falls/Salt Lake City, (Idaho/Utah); Boston, Massachusetts; Buffalo, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Des Moines, Iowa; Howard County, Lincoln, Nebraska; Louisville, Kentucky Maryland; Michigan; Minnesota; Nevada; New Jersey; Northwest Arkansas; Lincoln, Ohio (OWIN); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Maine; Salem, Massachusetts; Santa Clara, California; South Bend, Indiana; St. Louis, Missouri; Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Utah; and Virginia.

For more information, contact: Jas Chana, Associate Director of Strategic Communications, World Education Services. T: 646.212.3998 E: