Jina Krause-Vilmar on immigrants being the future of the workforce

Thought leaders share ideas with WorkingNation Overheard at JFF Horizons 2023

“Our systems are not set up to help immigrants and refugees integrate into the workforce,” says Jina Krause-Vilmar, president and CEO, Upwardly Global. “We have to change that because we have labor market shortages that are not just right now. This is our new normal.”

WorkingNation sat down with Krause-Vilmar at JFF Horizonsin New Orleans.           

“We know that 85% of jobs are secured today through your social networks. For immigrants who are new to the country, their networks are very insular,” explains Krause-Vilmar.

“They’re in the Vietnamese community. They’re in the Sudanese community. They’re in the Somali community. That means the access to information, resources and opportunities that they’re getting are consolidated and confined within that network.”

Krause-Vilmar says building social capital outside of that insular community is important. “We work with employers to be able to set up spaces where their employees can come together with our community, and they can really start building some of those connections,” she says.

“What we see is that informational interviews are critical in having people connect for long enough to where they’re able to bridge that trust deficit. That helps those individuals build enough of a relationship where that person is willing to give introductions, make recommendations, and network on behalf of the immigrant job seeker.”

Learn more about Upwardly Global.