New immigrant talent study will help six cities leverage local talent to contribute to economic development

World Education Services to lead study with $70,000 from Knight Foundation

NEW YORK-Oct. 2, 2014-A new study of college-educated immigrants will track the experiences of underutilized, skilled immigrants in six cities to discover ways to better integrate and leverage the talents of workers who were educated abroad. The study is being led by the nonprofit World Education Services with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The study will survey immigrants in four cities where Knight invests through its community and national initiatives program: Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia and San Jose, Calif. Boston and Seattle will also be included in the survey because of their large population of college-educated immigrants, and their potential to uncover valuable lessons for other cities.Knight Foundation logo

The U.S. is home to approximately 3.7 million college-educated immigrants who received their degrees abroad. However, 26 percent of these skilled workers are unemployed or working in low-wage jobs. This so called “brain waste” has negative consequences for immigrants and their families, as well as employers looking for high-skilled workers, and cities seeking to advance their economy.

“Gathering this information will help ensure that cities can draw on the full talents of their foreign-born residents,” said Paul Feltman, director of the Global Talent Bridge initiative at World Education Services. “While many of these individuals hold jobs as doctors or engineers, others have struggled to transfer their international credentials and obtain professional employment in the United States; this study will help us to understand why.”

“The large pool of college-educated immigrants in these cities includes untapped talent that can contribute to economic development,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president of community and national initiatives. “Using this new data the six cities can craft a plan for action, and identify ways to integrate these skilled workers into the fabric of the community.”

The first-of-its-kind study will track the career paths of workers who were educated abroad to determine the factors that lead to their success or limit their progress. Results will be used to create a set of recommendations for cities to better integrate skilled workers into their communities, and take advantage of their many talents.

As part of IMPRINT (Immigrant Professional Integration), a coalition of organizations active in skilled immigrant integration, World Education Services will collaborate on this project with other IMPRINT members and community partners.

In addition, the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University will serve as lead research partner.

Finally, AudioNow, a technology company that helps radio stations reach immigrant listeners via mobile phone, will join the project as a research partner.

“Working with AudioNow will allow us to reach immigrants who may be difficult or impossible to reach via traditional survey methods,” said Feltman. “People who are calling into a radio show already have a trusted relationship with the broadcaster, making them more likely to consent to participating in the survey when asked.”

The results of the study are expected to be released in early 2015.

About the Organizations

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

About World Education Services
World Education Services (WES) is the leading source of international education intelligence. WES is a not-for-profit organization with nearly 40 years’ experience evaluating international credentials. WES provides more than 100,000 evaluations each year that are accepted by thousands of academic institutions, employers, licensing and certification boards, and government agencies in the U.S. and Canada. WES’s Global Talent Bridge initiative is dedicated to helping skilled immigrants fully utilize their talents and education in the United States. Learn more at

IMPRINT (Immigrant Professional Integration) is a national coalition of nonprofit organizations. Founded in 2011, IMPRINT is an advocate for federal, state and local policies that aid in the economic integration of immigrant professionals. Learn more at

About the Institute for Immigration Research
The Institute for Immigration Research is a joint venture between George Mason University and The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Massachusetts. Its mission is to refocus the immigration conversation among academics, policy-makers and the public, including the business community and media, by producing and disseminating unbiased and objective, interdisciplinary academic research related to immigrants and immigration to the United States.
Learn more about the Institute for Immigration Research

About AudioNow
AudioNow, based in Washington, D.C., is the world’s largest mobile platform connecting radio broadcasters to listeners in the diaspora through call-to-listen technology. With more than 2,200 broadcast partners, including global leaders such as the United Nations, BBC, Radio France International, Radio Free Asia, and the Voice of America, AudioNow reaches more than 130 different nationalities and ethnic groups, also providing unique research and survey capabilities unavailable anywhere in the world. Learn more at


Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, IMPRINT, Communications and Policy Director

Natalie White, AudioNow, Manager of Market Research

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation