Maurice Crul, Professor of Sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam
Jozef De Witte, Director, Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism
Michael Fix, Senior Vice President and Co-Director, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, MPI
Elizabeth Collett, Director, MPI Europe
Education and employment are the two most critical pathways for the integration of immigrants and their children into society. The increasingly diverse make-up of societies on both sides of the Atlantic today, however, has created new challenges for education and workforce training systems. Second-generation young adults (the children of immigrants) often cannot fully access educational opportunities because of a variety of socio-economic, linguistic, or cultural factors. Academic achievement gaps and barriers to post-secondary enrollment and completion have an effect on second-generation young adults’ participation in the labor market, with important consequences for themselves, their families, and their communities. While in North America this has been an on-going process for decades, several Western European countries today–Belgium being one of them–are trying to come to terms with the reality and challenges of their diverse societies by adjusting their education and workforce development policies to shape curricula, reduce barriers to access, and target interventions for immigrants and their children. For more than a decade now, Maurice Crul has investigated the successes and failures of education policies in integrating immigrant and second-generation youth in the education system and the labor market. MPI Europe hosted Dr. Crul for a presentation of his most recent book, co-edited with John Mollenkopf, The Changing Face of World Cities: Young Adult Children of Immigrants in Europe and the United States. The volume presents a systematic, data-based comparison of the lives of young adult children of immigrants in 17 cities in Western Europe and the United States, and offers important lessons for devising more effective public policies. MPI Europe hosted the launch of the book and a panel discussion that explored the structural opportunities and challenges that governments face in integrating the second generation in different European countries, as well as the United States.