The following blog post first appeared on the ALPFA Newsletter for Professional.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that: “The number of job openings exceeded the number of unemployed Americans by the largest margin on record in April 2019.” While this is good news for job seekers, it makes employers’ job of hiring, expanding, and diversifying their workforce more difficult.
TheDream.US, the country’s largest college scholarship program for immigrant youth, has an emerging talent pool of graduates who can legally work and are motivated to launch their careers, put their degrees to use, and contribute to the country they call home. Most TheDream.US Scholars have either DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) or TPS (Temporary Protected Status). Our Scholars have faced many obstacles in their college journey, including no access to federal aid and limited access to state or institutional aid.
Despite these challenges, TheDream.US Scholars have persevered and graduated, often with a stellar academic record compiled while working to support their education and families – 75% of our Scholars work while in college, while earning an average GPA of 3.4. Our Scholars have proven themselves to be highly motivated and determined to succeed in college and life. And they are ready and willing to contribute to workplaces across America.
The incredible potential of TheDream.US Scholars mirrors the larger story of DREAMers across America, including the approximately 700,000 DREAMers with DACA status. Research and surveys of the DACA population show that 91% of DACA recipients are employed and that DACA beneficiaries are projected to contribute more than $460 billion to the national GDP between 2017 and 2027.
Our immigration laws are complex and we understand that employers without the right information might be reticent to hire someone with DACA or TPS. But active DACA and TPS status allows the recipient to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) to work legally in the U.S. In fact, it is unlawful to deny a DACA or TPS recipient employment based on their immigration status. Some of the most prominent companies in corporate America are already benefiting from their contributions – 18 of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies have DREAMers in their workforce (New American Economy: The Entrepreneurial Legacy of Immigrants and Their Children).
Our Scholars are eager to find meaningful careers and contribute to the social and economic prosperity of our country. They hold what companies seek in its employees – an ability to adapt, an eagerness to learn, and an incomparable motivation to succeed. Employers large and small across America should take note and be sure to include DACA and TPS holders in their hiring and recruitment efforts. Learn more at: www.thedream.us
-Gaby Pacheco is a national immigrant rights leader and the Director of Advocacy, Development, and Communications at TheDream.US.