The Department of Labor recently issued a Training and Employment Notice (TEN 28-16) on best practices, partnership models, and resources for serving English language learners, immigrants, and refugees.
The TEN was sent to stakeholders across the public workforce system, including state labor departments, state and local workforce boards, and American Job Centers (formerly known as one-stop centers).
The TEN emphasizes the importance of ensuring that all customers have meaningful access to the public workforce system, and describes notable requirements for federally funded workforce providers under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Sec. 188 and its associated nondiscrimination/Equal Employment Opportunity regulations.
The TEN also reviews specific barriers that both highly educated and less-educated immigrant and refugee jobseekers may face, and ways that those barriers can be overcome, including:
- Limited English proficiency, which can be addressed through contextualized, workplace-based English language classes
- Lack of familiarity with US workplace practices, which can be addressed through mock interviews and help in building social capital and professional networks
The guidance also reminds workforce stakeholders that training services under WIOA Title I can include English language training if provided in combination with another training service, and that individuals who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are eligible for WIOA Title I services (see NSC’s prior Q and A on this topic).
Six innovative partnership models for providing workforce services to immigrant and refugee jobseekers are spotlighted in the TEN. They include:
- The Center for Employment Training (CET) in San Jose, CA and other locations across the US
- The International Institute of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN
- Neighbors United in Boise, ID, part of the federal Networks for Integrating New Americans initiative
- The Ready to Work program, offered through the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
- Project Growing Regional Opportunity for the Workforce (GROW) in McAllen, TX
- The Silicon Valley Alliance for Language Learners’ Integration, Education, and Success (ALLIES) Innovation Initiative in San Mateo, CA
Finally, the TEN provides copious links to technical assistance resources on issues that may affect immigrant and refugee jobseekers, such as: credentials and licensing; WIOA state plans and policy guidance; English language instruction; research on immigrant workforce integration; and trauma and human trafficking.