New progress report from the White House Task Force on New Americans

By Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, January 05, 2016

The White House Task Force on New Americans recently released a report summarizing its achievements during the last year, including progress on implementing the 48 recommendations outlined in its April 2015 Strategic Action Plan.

(The Task Force was launched in November 2014 as part of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. NSC submitted recommendations to the Task Force in early 2015.)

Skills are an important focus of the Task Force’s work. The report notes several developments in the workforce landscape over the last year, including the release of the Department of Labor’s Career Pathways Toolkit, a reference guide for local communities seeking to implement such pathways. The report also notes DOL’s creation of an online resource, the Innovation and Opportunity Network, to assist with ongoing implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Local Communities

The Task Force report also noted innovative efforts to promote immigrant integration in local communities, including:

  • The Michigan Office for New Americans, which has worked with Global Detroit and the national nonprofit Upwardly Global to advance and promote several initiatives. Among them is the Michigan International Talent Solutions program, which will help skilled immigrants who are new to Michigan return to their professional careers by connecting them to employers who are hiring, particularly in STEM fields.

  • Seattle’s Ready to Work Program, which combines English language classes with computer literacy instruction and case management to help immigrants gain job readiness skills and take steps toward economic self-sufficiency. The program is a combined initiative of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, the Seattle City Council, and three City agencies — the Human Services Department, Office of Economic Development, and the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

Upcoming Developments

Looking ahead, the Task Force noted several upcoming events and initiatives:

  • In 2016, the Task Force will bring together governments and associations that significantly influence immigrant labor market success for a Credentialing Academy. The convening will address issues facing immigrants who earned credentials abroad, including how US state and local policies can help or hinder credential attainment and recognition, and best practices in facilitating immigrant re-credentialing.
  • The Department of Education (ED) will launch a $2.4 million technical assistance investment using National Leadership Activities funds from Title II of the Workforce Investment Act. This investment will be used to assist state and local adult educators in scaling place-based network models of immigrant integration.

    In particular, local organizations that receive Title II Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) formula funds will be provided assistance in how to best achieve the IELCE program’s purpose as well as fulfill its requirements by adopting a collective impact, network-based approach to providing immigrant integration services. Additionally, ED will be issuing further guidance in the next year on new statutory requirements that apply to the IELCE program under WIOA.

  • The Walmart Foundation is investing in efforts to increase English-language skills among retail workers through a new project, Skills and Opportunity for the New American Workforce, a coalition between the National Immigration Forum, Miami Dade College, and the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education.