E.g., 06/25/2022
E.g., 06/25/2022
Essey Workie
Experts & Staff
EsseyWorkie2020WEB

Essey Workie

Director, Human Services Initiative

202-266-1939

Essey Workie is Director of MPI's Human Services Initiative. Her work focuses on unaccompanied children, immigrant families, and access to local, state, and federal health and human service programs.

Media Requests
Michelle Mittelstadt
202 266 1910
[email protected]

General Inquiries
+ 1 202 266 1940

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 Advancing Digital Equity among Immigrant-Origin Youth
Reports
February 2022
By  Essey Workie, Lillie Hinkle, Anna deDufour and Valerie Lacarte
Cover image for Relaunching the Central American Minors Program: Opportunities to Enhance Child Safety and Family Reunification
Reports
December 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin, Celia Reynolds and Essey Workie
Cover image for El relanzamiento del Programa de Menores Centroamericanos: Oportunidades para realzar la protección infantil y la reunificación familiar
Reports
December 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin, Celia Reynolds and Essey Workie
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
Photo of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meeting with Afghan evacuees in Germany
Commentaries
September 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Celia Reynolds and Essey Workie
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
February 24, 2022

Marking the release of an MPI report, this webinar takes stock of lessons learned about remote learning during the pandemic and examines how governments, schools, and service providers can advance digital equity for children in immigrant families.

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
February 24, 2022

Marking the release of an MPI report, this webinar takes stock of lessons learned about remote learning during the pandemic and examines how governments, schools, and service providers can advance digital equity for children in immigrant families.

Reports
February 2022

Since the pandemic began, technology has become an even more central part of Americans’ lives. Yet access to digital devices, the internet, and digital skills training has long been uneven. For many teenagers in immigrant families, including those who are English Learners, this digital divide has made remote learning challenging. This study identifies promising practices for increasing digital access and literacy among immigrant-origin youth.

Reports
December 2021

El gobierno de los Estados Unidos ha relanzado el Programa de Menores Centroamericanos, que fue creado para ofrecer a ciertos niños que viven en condiciones peligrosas en El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras una forma segura y legal de reunirse con sus padres en los Estados Unidos. Este informe identifica las lecciones aprendidas de la versión anterior del programa y hace recomendaciones sobre cómo fortalecerlo en el futuro.

Reports
December 2021

The U.S. government has relaunched the Central American Minors (CAM) Program, which was created to offer certain children living in dangerous conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras a safe, legal way to join their parents in the United States. This report identifies shortcomings in the earlier version of the program, examines the new one, and makes recommendations for how to strengthen it going forward.

Commentaries
September 2021

Afghans evacuated to the United States are entering with a range of legal statuses, with important implications for their ability to access benefits and services that will help them settle into their new communities. This commentary outlines the different statuses and resulting consequences for eligibility for assistance, based on whether the arrivals are recognized as refugees, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients, or parolees.

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.

Pages