Immigrant integration bill includes key workforce development provisions

June 24, 2014

Today, Representatives Cardenas (D-CA) and Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the “New American Success Act,” legislation designed to promote and support linguistic, civic, and economic immigrant integration. The bill would create: a) a National Office of New Americans, an Executive level office meant to coordinate integration efforts across agencies, including the Departments of Labor and Education; b) an Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance grant program, primarily focused on the design and implementation of citizenship and civics education programs; and c) Integration Success grants, competitive grants to support immigrant integration programs.

The Integration Success grants would be jointly administered by the Secretaries of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, and awarded to states or local governments working in partnership with nonprofit or community-based organizations to improve the linguistic, civic, or economic integration of immigrants. Among other things, grant funds may be used to expand access to, and improve the quality of, programs that provide employment navigation and training opportunities; that provide adult basic education (ABE) and contextualized English language skills (ESL); and that assist immigrants in obtaining recognized postsecondary credentials or employment, or build measurable skill gains leading to the attainment of an industry-recognized credential or certificate.

National Skills Coalition has strongly advocated for a robust skills strategy as part of our nation’s immigration policy. Immigrants play an important role in meeting the skilled workforce needs of our nation’s employers, and will be key to addressing the middle-skills gap in our labor market for the foreseeable future. NSC applauds the explicit inclusion of policies that promote integrated and contextualized ABE and ESL, and the attainment of industry-recognized certificates and credentials in the New American Success Act, and strongly supports this legislation.  

NSC looks forward to continuing to work with members of Congress on efforts that allow all workers—immigrants and native-born alike—to obtain the skills they need to succeed in the labor market and ensure that employers have access to the skilled workforce they need to compete in the global economy.