Explores private sector employer engagement in immigrant integration, particularly in the workforce development realm, and establishes a case for an increased role.

“This report analyzes employer engagement in immigrant integration, with a focus on workplace practices. Workplaces are essential spaces for immigrant integration. Most immigrants come to the United States to work, and they spend a good part of their lives in workplaces. Thus, workplace-based practices can have great effect on the integration of immigrants. Because workplaces are the domain of employers, employers have the power to implement workplace-integration practices if they so wish.

The goal of this report is to provide a road map for understanding and enhancing employer engagement in the workforce development of immigrants. It seeks to answer three questions:

  1. What do we know about employer engagement in immigrant integration?
  2. How can we conceptualize employer engagement in immigrant integration?
  3. What can employers do to engage in workplace integration?” (p.2).

“To answer those questions, [the author] review[s] the evidence from literature, and complement[s] this evidence with interviews with key people who are knowledgeable about employers’ role in immigrant integration…. To provide context, [the author] examine[s] data on the characteristics of immigrant workers from the American Community Survey; these characteristics attest to the need for employer engagement in immigrant integration” (p.v).

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“The main findings of this study are the following: • In 2013, 17 percent of the American workforce and 44 percent of those lacking a high school diploma were foreign born. • Twenty-five percent of all immigrant workers were not proficient in English, 26 percent did not have a high school diploma, and 52 percent were not US citizens” (p.v). • “The largest dissimilarity in terms of occupation between US natives and immigrants was among workers with lower levels of education. • “Immigrant college graduates are less likely than comparable US natives to work in college-intensive occupations” (p.vi). • “The conceptual framework of employer engagement in immigrant integration developed here emphasizes (a) the need for agreement between the different segments of the company; (b) the need to increase the knowledge base of employers about effective integration practices; (c) how immigrant-serving organizations, labor unions, and workforce agencies can increase the knowledge base of employers and can facilitate engagement; (d) the importance of the demographic, economic, and labor market contexts; and (e) the effects of workplace integration practices on business outcomes. • “The literature review and the interviews with key informants unveiled workplace practices that employers could adopt to foster the integration of their immigrant workforce. Examples of these practices are (a) providing English-language training; (b) offering naturalization assistance; (c) providing safety and occupational training in workers’ native languages; (d) having a better understanding of credentials acquired abroad; (e) equipping human resources staff with knowledge in immigration policy and compliance; (f) providing immigrant-conscious employment assistance programs; (g) providing affidavits of support and sponsorship to immigrants trying to adjust their status; (h) negotiating worker-training funds with unions; (i) implementing high-performance work practices that are inclusive of immigrant workers; and (j) partnering with immigrant-serving organizations to enhance employer’s capacity to serve immigrant workers” (p.vi). (Abstractor: Author)