Upskilling the U.S. Labor Force: Mapping the Credentials of Immigrant-Origin Workers
Michael Fix, Senior Fellow and former President, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
Jeanne Batalova, Senior Policy Analyst and Manager of the Migration Data Hub, MPI
Courtney Brown, Vice President of Strategic Impact, Lumina Foundation
Brenda Dann-Messier, Commissioner, Office of Postsecondary Education, Rhode Island
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, Director of Upskilling Policy, National Skills Coalition
The U.S. workforce is aging, baby boomers are retiring, and birth rates are declining, all with implications for the availability of skilled workers. By some estimates, the United States will face a shortfall of 8 million workers between 2017 and 2027, representing the most substantial gap in 50 years. At the same time, the immigrant-origin adult population (first and second generations) has grown at a much faster pace, and this group is projected to be the primary source of future U.S. labor-force growth.
Changing workforce demographics, along with growing labor-market demand for higher levels of education and skills, raise an important policy question: Are immigrant-origin adults, who are the main replacement source for retiring workers, prepared to fully engage in the knowledge-based economy? To shed light on this question, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) has released a report that provides data at national and state levels on the degree and nondegree credential attainment of first- and second-generation adults. The report breaks ground by exploring the relationship between these postsecondary credentials and the economic outcomes of immigrant-origin adults.
The authors provide their demographic and socioeconomic profile of the immigrant-origin adult population, and then engage leading experts in a discussion on the policy implications of these findings for federal and state governments, exploring programs and innovative practices that boost credential attainment, and the crucial need to upskill the U.S. workforce to meet skill shortages.