Every year, hundreds of new Americans leave everything behind, arriving in Idaho with advanced degrees, English language skills and successful but interrupted careers – as engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, and scientists. Too often, these skilled professionals face enormous barriers in continuing their careers once in Idaho. Instead, they end up significantly underemployed in low-wage jobs, their skills and talents left untapped.
To date, the Idaho Office for Refugees and Idaho’s refugee resettlement agencies have created strong systems for finding first jobs for newly-arrived refugees, but these have largely been in low wage placements. In 2012-2013, Idaho refugees in full-time positions (typically high-skilled candidates) earned an average starting wage of just $8.46/hour.
Global Talent Idaho is changing that, helping skilled immigrants find roles related to their former careers, experience and education. Global Talent Idaho provides job seekers with career counseling, training, cultural orientation, and opportunities for mentoring, networking and internships that provide direct connections with employers.
Global Talent Idaho is also designed to contribute to the economic prosperity of the state and its employers, as it provides a new source of skilled professionals with diverse backgrounds and capabilities, in many cases unique to our region. For employers, Global Talent Idaho is a resource for high-skilled workers who bring their often unparalleled commitment, global perspective, and multiple languages to the workplace. Other cities have had great success with similar programs for skilled new Americans. Global Talent Idaho is designed to leverage their most successful elements.
Today Jame is talking with Gina Finley, who is the project manager at Global Talent, Tara Wolfson, who is the Co-Founder of Global Talent with Lisa Cooper, and Albert Mukana, who was a neurosurgeon in the Congo and is now a surgical technician here in the US.