Impact Grant Profile: Upwardly Global
Upwardly Global is a national nonprofit that specializes in helping work-authorized, foreign-educated professionals rebuild their careers in the U.S. Many of these unemployed or under-employed skilled immigrants come to the U.S. with a college degree or higher but end up taking jobs that don’t match their education or experience. Through Upwardly Global’s comprehensive job search support and training programs, these job seekers develop the skills and confidence to reenter their professional fields and realize their full potential.
Recently, Upwardly Global was awarded an Impact Grant from the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation to expand its online training program. Once fully implemented, Upwardly Global intends to use the Cornerstone platform to scale its training program five times over and train more than 16,700 skilled immigrants and refugees by 2020.
Tadd Wamester, Director, Regional Growth & Online Programs, sat down with us to discuss the skilled immigrant experience in the U.S., how Upwardly Global helps them develop their careers, and the critical role of online learning in its programs.
Tell us about the mission of Upwardly Global.
Upwardly Global's mission is to eliminate employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees and to integrate this population into the professional U.S. workforce. Through our blended in-person and online training program, we equip job seekers with the skills they need to succeed in a professional job search and to contribute to the U.S. economy at their full potential.
Who are the beneficiaries of your services?
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 1.8 million foreign-educated immigrants in the U.S. who are unemployed or underemployed in low-skilled positions. This population faces significant barriers to employment including lack of professional networks, U.S.-style resume, interview skills, technology skills, and modern job search skills. These individuals were engineers, doctors, scientists, and accountants in their home countries. Without our help, they become nannies, cashiers, and cab drivers in the U.S., if they work at all.
How does Upwardly Global help these skilled immigrants?
Our program provides comprehensive job search support, and this one-time intervention enables skilled immigrants to move back into professional jobs in the U.S. workforce. Our work optimizes the employment outcomes for this population to benefit the individuals, their families, employers, communities, and the U.S. economy as a whole. Last year, Upwardly Global placed 578 immigrants and refugees into professional positions at an average starting salary of $46,706, generating $24 million in economic impact.
Tell us more about the training programs you provide.
In 2013, Upwardly Global implemented a blended training model within our local markets and also has a fully remote online training program that is available to job seekers nationwide. We deliver online training for the modern job search including: Resume Development, Cover Letter Writing, LinkedIn, Marketing Yourself for the U.S. Job Search, Networking Skills, Interview Skills, Job Boards & Job Aggregators, Salary Negotiation, Health Care and other sector-specific models.
How will the Impact Grant change your learning model moving forward?
Since Upwardly Global launched our online platform in 2013 we have increased the number of participants completing training by over 30 percent year-over-year. Courses on resume development, networking, and salary negotiation that previously had to be delivered in our offices can now reach hundreds of learners at a time across the U.S. However, to meet the growing demand for our services, our strategic plan calls for us to dramatically increase the number of skilled new Americans we train and place in professional jobs. Success for Upwardly Global will mean scaling our program to meaningfully train nearly 17,000 individuals over the next five years. In order to achieve this, we need to develop an updated online training portal that is more adaptive, user-friendly, and shareable. We also intend to train and activate new populations including employers, volunteers, and program alumni.
The Impact Grant will enable us to dramatically enhance our online learning tools and better leverage community partnerships, volunteers, and program alumni to reach and train more of this underserved population.