MA Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition Work
The commonwealth and nation's workforce development agendas should address the critical role that immigrants play at all levels of our economy. Especially now, in difficult economic times, our public and private investments should focus on preparing and integrating immigrant workers, whose skills, energy and diversity are vital assets to our labor force.
MIRA supports policy and investment in programs that help immigrants to enter and advance in the labor market. This calls for a continuum of services, including education and training in the community and at workplaces; advancement opportunities; higher education; improved access to re-licensing for immigrants and refugees with professional credentials in their home country, and access to citizenship. MIRA also advocates for policy and programs that engage the businesses that employ immigrants, the unions that represent them, and immigrant-serving organizations and educational institutions across the Commonwealth.
MIRA members place the highest priority on expanded access to quality ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) for adults. English language proficiency is an essential ingredient for foreign-born individuals to move toward self-sufficiency and full integration. Nearly 500,000 foreign-born residents, or 7 out of 10 adult immigrants in the state, are in need of English language classes. The wait list for ESOL classes funded by the state stands at approximately 16,000, representing just a tiny fraction of the true need. MIRA's English Works Campaign works to expand access to high-quality ESOL for immigrant workers and learners.