State-Level Initiatives to Address Brain Waste Among Highly Educated Immigrants and Refugees: Special Focus on Nurses, Engineers, and Teachers
Fanny Lopez, Immigrant Integration Policy Fellow, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Roxana Norouzi, Education Policy Manager, OneAmerica
Jeffrey Gross, Director, New Americans Integration Institute, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Margie McHugh, Director, MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy
Despite possessing postsecondary degrees and relevant work experience, many highly educated immigrants and refugees in the United States struggle to find employment that utilizes their talents and professional experience. Particularly in fields with strict certification or licensure requirements, difficulties in obtaining recognition of credentials from foreign institutions, acquiring professional-level English skills, and navigating costly or time-consuming recertification processes prevent highly skilled immigrants and refugees from making the most of their education and training, and waste human capital badly needed by local economies and employers.
This is a discussion of data compiled by MPI on brain waste among foreign-trained nurses, engineers, and teachers, and updates on three state-level initiatives—in Illinois, Washington, and Massachusetts—that are working to analyze and address challenges faced by immigrants and refugees with degrees and training in these fields. Dr. Jeanne Batalova presents MPI’s data on brain waste at the national and state levels and representatives from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, OneAmerica, and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition discuss their analysis and efforts on these issues.