Unlocking Potential: Enhancing Community College Services for Immigrant and Refugee Students

As the United States gears up for a future where all growth in the working-age population will stem from immigrants and their children, a striking contradiction looms: Nearly 2.4 million educated immigrants remain unemployed or underemployed, on the fringes of the American workforce. Over two decades, Upwardly Global has been at the heart of this challenge, supporting nearly 10,000 immigrants, refugees, and asylees into professional-level jobs that contribute over $50 million annually to local economies.

In order to advance the goal of dismantling employment barriers for immigrant workers, investing in the community college ecosystem — which serves as an accessible pathway to workforce inclusion — is imperative. While nearly one-third of community college students are of immigrant-origin, these institutions face substantial hurdles in supporting this population at all skill levels, with limited research on effective programs and interventions that bridge disparities.

This resource, developed by Upwardly Global, provides details on navigating community college services for immigrant and refugee students. It is available in English.