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Workforce

Creating Opportunites to Thrive

Our communities deserve to thrive, yet too often people like us face barriers to entering the workforce or are left without the meaningful, well paid work we deserve. Shaping the workforce development system to better serve our needs is a key pillar of OneAmerica’s immigrant inclusion strategy. OneAmerica organizes people like us, immigrants and refugees directly impacted by these systems and who experience barriers to entering the workforce, to take action. 

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Recovery for Whom?

The COVID pandemic disproportionately hit our immigrant communities. Because of the pandemic and resulting economic crisis, millions of us are facing delinquent mortgages, eviction, losing our employer-provided health insurance, a lack of affordable child care, and fears that our children are losing ground because of inadequate technology and language access.

Washington State must invest in strategies to create a more equitable economy, one that centers racial equity and that addresses systemic inequity. This means using policy and economic levers to improve job quality, target resources to underserved communities, and to create a more coherent workforce strategy in our state and regions.

About the Program

Organizing & Advocacy

We organize for jobs that pay living wages, provide meaningful benefits and career pathways. We advocate for pathways to use the skills and credentials from our home countries to find employment in our chosen professions. We advocate for job training programs that address language access barriers.

Investing in Immigrant Entrepreneurship

We partner with the Democracy at Work Institute to examine opportunities in our region to establish immigrant owned business cooperatives to advance entrepreneurship and economic stability for those of us who work in the childcare sector and who serve as interpreters and translators.

Systems Advocacy & Coordination

Through Washington State’s Keep Washington Working Work Group, we coordinate workforce and small business strategies with public agencies, immigrant-serving organizations and industry representatives to ensure that workforce development programs serve the needs of immigrant workers like us and the industries we depend on.

Work in Action

Making a Difference: International Medical Graduates Achieve Access to Residency Programs

Many immigrants come to the US with advanced degrees and credentials, but because of outdated laws and policies are unable to utilize them. Many end up in low wage jobs despite being trained as doctors, teachers, lawyers and nurses. This term has been coined ‘brain waste’ and OneAmerica has been working with our partners to ensure immigrants with degrees from other countries have opportunities to advance in their professional fields.

We supported partners, like the WA Academy for International Medical Graduates, to win state legislation that helps immigrants like us enter medical professions in Washington State using the credentials and experiences we bring from our home countries. 

Partnership: Seattle Rideshare Drivers

OneAmerica has a partnership with the Seattle Rideshare Drivers Association (SRDA) which advocates for rideshare drivers’ rights. SRDA was founded following a strike of more than 700 Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle. As a result of the strike, drivers elected a board of member drivers to represent their interests. We are honored to partner with SRDA and support their work.