E.g., 08/01/2021
E.g., 08/01/2021
Essey Workie
Experts & Staff
EsseyWorkie2020WEB

Essey Workie

Senior Policy Analyst

202 266 1939

Essey Workie is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, where she works with its Human Services Initiative. Her work focuses on unaccompanied children, immigrant families, and access to local, state, and federal health and human service programs.

Ms. Workie previously worked as the Director of Refugee Health and the Director of Planning and Development at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, where she established the national refugee medical assistance and medical screening programs in multiple states. Previously, she served as the senior federal official and regional spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families in the mid-Atlantic region, where she led the intersection of human service programs including refugee resettlement, early childhood development, child welfare, youth, and workforce development. She also founded the division of refugee health at the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Ms. Workie contributed to several federal regulations, policy guidance, research studies, and reports, including a study on unaccompanied children in Ethiopia, the health of Congolese refugees in Rwanda, and the use of two-generation strategies in the U.S. refugee resettlement program. 

Ms. Workie began her career in nonprofit organizations and local government as a social worker, specializing in child and adolescent mental health. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from James Madison University and a master’s degree in social work from Temple University. She is also a leadership coach with an executive certificate in leadership coaching from Georgetown University, and provides pro-bono coaching services to immigrants, minorities, and other marginalized groups.

Bio Page Tabs

Cover image for Strengthening Services for Unaccompanied Children in U.S. Communities
Reports
June 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Kylie Grow, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin and Essey Workie
Coverthumb TwoGen RefugeeIntegration
Reports
December 2018
By  Mark Greenberg, Julia Gelatt, Jessica Bolter, Essey Workie and Isabelle Charo
Bhutanese refugee sits on bed in family's apartment in New York
Commentaries
June 2021
By  Essey Workie, Mark Greenberg and Lillie Hinkle
Video, Audio
July 21, 2021

Featuring findings from a recent MPI report, speakers examined the process of releasing unaccompanied children to sponsors, the current structure of federal post-release services, and the most significant needs these children and their U.S. sponsors experience.

flickr Seattle OIRA August 2015 Ready to Work Graduation Celebration Credit Nate Gowdy Photography
Video, Audio
January 23, 2020

On this webinar, experts and state refugee resettlement program leaders discuss activities that can be key parts of a broader strategy for sustaining and improving employment services for refugees, including partnerships with experts in workforce development strategies, access to federal workforce development funding, and other policies and resources.

Recent Activity

Video, Audio, Webinars
July 21, 2021

Featuring findings from a recent MPI report, speakers examined the process of releasing unaccompanied children to sponsors, the current structure of federal post-release services, and the most significant needs these children and their U.S. sponsors experience. The discussion also explored efforts by philanthropic, state, and local actors to address the needs of this population and their communities, what service gaps exist, and key recommendations to improve access to services.

Commentaries
June 2021

While asylees are eligible for many of the same public benefits and services as resettled refugees, including health care and employment assistance, there is no system to inform them of their eligibility and to help connect them to resources. MPI estimates that fewer than 20 percent of those granted asylum in recent years received Office of Refugee Resettlement benefits during their first year. The U.S. government could address this gap with a few simple measures.

Reports
June 2021

While record monthly arrivals of unaccompanied minors in early 2021 have drawn considerable attention, important questions surround what happens once the children are released from federal custody to parents or other sponsors. This report examines federal post-release services, support needs among children and sponsors, how service providers are meeting these needs, and ways to improve services—to the benefit of the children and the communities in which they live.

Video, Audio, Webinars
January 23, 2020

On this webinar, experts and state refugee resettlement program leaders discuss activities that can be key parts of a broader strategy for sustaining and improving employment services for refugees, including partnerships with experts in workforce development strategies, access to federal workforce development funding, and other policies and resources.

Reports
December 2018

At a time when the U.S. refugee resettlement system is facing unprecedented challenges, innovative and cost-effective tools for supporting refugee integration are in demand. This report explores how a two-generation approach to service provision could help all members of refugee families—from young children to working-age adults and the elderly—find their footing.