The American Community Survey estimated that 13 percent of the total US population was foreign-born in 2014. While some immigrants may face challenges upon arrival to the U.S., opportunities to succeed are supported through tapping into unrealized skills, work-focused language instruction, and other community strategies. The following resources explore educational attainment data, work-oriented language programs, and strategies for building economic opportunities among immigrant populations. 

Untapped Skills Realising the Potential of Immigrant Students. 2012. This resource utilizes performance data from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to analyze the educational attainment of immigrant children. The authors find that education performance is associated with language barriers and socio-economic status, and they provide recommendations to combat these challenges and, ultimately, improve performance in schools. The authors also compare data to first- and second-generation peers as well as to parents.

Improving Immigrants’ Employment Prospects through Work-Focused Language Instruction. 2011. This resource describes the value of host-language acquisition as a means for immigrants to secure employment and advance to higher-paying positions. The report covers promising approaches to work-focused language training and makes recommendations for financial supports for these programs. The authors cite a variety of articles about immigration and language learning from both the United States and Europe to support their claims.

Immigrant Workers Empowerment and Community Building: A Review of Issues and Strategies for Increasing Workforce and Economic Opportunity for Immigrant Workers. 2015. This research brief profiles eight organizations that have successfully worked with immigrant worker populations, generally in the context of broader efforts for community and policy change.  The report examines service provisions, enterprise development, advocacy, and community organizing within the context of helping immigrants realize the promise of America.