NYCETC’s Member Spotlight series – which introduces our readers to the wide variety of workforce programs and services that our members offer across the five boroughs – is shifting to highlight the ways in which organizations have shifted their services to best support their clients and communities during the COVID pandemic and within the post-COVID economy. This week we focus on Upwardly Global.
Upwardly Global supports immigrants and refugees in rebuilding professional careers in the US and connects employers with diverse talent, offering in-person services in its four major locations – NYC, DC area, Chicago, San Francisco – as well as online programs and resources. While job loss stemming from the pandemic has been devastating to all Americans, the growing tightening of the labor market and long-term implications on the economy are particularly challenging for immigrant workers and jobseekers who already faced a number of systemic barriers to gainful employment.
“The immigrant and refugee professionals we serve have so much to offer the U.S. workforce — multilingual skills, cultural competence, past experience tackling pandemics in their home countries. We know that diversity begets resilience, problem solving, and innovation — exactly what we need more of in this critical moment,” said Rebecca Neuwirth, Vice President of Advancement with Upwardly Global. “Yet this challenging economic environment presents significant new barriers to employment for our community. To support our clients effectively, Upwardly Global will need to more deeply invest in efforts to ensure that our job seekers are equipped with industry-relevant skills, certifications and credentials that are directly aligned with local employer demand and talent gaps.”
As an organization serving internationally-trained, college-educated professionals, Upwardly Global immediately recognized its role and responsibility in activating its community of healthcare workers to contribute to the frontline medical response in the US, 93 percent of whom are eager to contribute their lifesaving skills and experience during this urgent moment, according to a March survey. To this end, Upwardly Global also pivoted to support its pool of immigrant healthcare professionals in moving into crucial medical roles, including temporary and volunteer roles on the frontlines, and are continuing to match them with local hospitals, clinics and government agencies who need their skills and can put them back to work. Thus far, this includes working with 250 internationally-trained healthcare professionals (90 in the NYC area alone) with critical skills and experience to contribute to the COVID-19 healthcare response in roles such as contact tracers, patient translators, and medical reserve corps volunteers. Read more here.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit NYC back in March, Upwardly Global was well-positioned to pivot its service model to be entirely virtual, building upon its existing online Learning Management System weGlo that already offered core soft skill and cross-cultural competency training content to clients. Recognizing that many of its community-based partners lack the infrastructure for virtual service delivery, Upwardly Global is leveraging its robust digital platform, resources and expertise to support partners by offering increased access for jobseekers to WeGlo and a free, curated set of Upwardly Global’s job skillbuilding tools. In preparing for the long-term impacts of the pandemic, the national nonprofit is deepening its investments in upskilling programs to build their clients’ fluidity and competitiveness within a rapidly changing labor market. This includes growing their digital skilling opportunities that prepare job seekers to fill roles in high-demand, high-opportunity sectors like STEM and Healthcare. In the coming year, Upwardly Global is partnering with Microsoft to deliver a combination of essential employability skills and technical and digital skills with an emphasis on preparing job seekers to fill roles needed by employers across industries such as software developer, project manager, data scientist, cloud developer, IT support, and graphic designer.