Jobs for the Future (JFF), a non-profit organization that promotes the transformation of the American workforce and educational systems, announced through a statement an ambitious two-year initiative for the economic advancement of immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers in rural areas of the country.

According to the information, the Rural Immigrant Success Exchange (RISE), a partnership with Ascidium and the World Education Services (WES) Mariam Assefa Fund, will build a network of education and training providers that will break down barriers to education, training and employment for immigrants and refugees who reside in rural communities in the United States.

Immigrants and refugees have established themselves as valuable economic contributors in rural communities. They start small businesses and provide a vital source of talent in various industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, health care and construction,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF.

“At a time when rural and remote communities are grappling with stagnant businesses, declining populations, and underinvestment in policy, investing in the skills and talents of immigrants and refugees can help strengthen rural businesses and revitalize communities.” Flynn added.

In partnership with WES and Ascidium, JFF will identify, recruit and select 10 organizations that provide job training to immigrants and refugees in rural communities across the country to form a learning community.

The opportunity is addressed to community organizations, training and education providers, economic development organizations, and workforce development boards.

Selected organizations will receive $150,000 over the two-year grant period and will participate in JFF-led technical assistance activities, including sharing and adopting best practices for career navigation, participant support, and job readiness with peer institutions, RISE funders, and other stakeholders.

JFF invites applicants to register their interest in participating in RISE by October 31, 2022 by completing an initial interest form available here. Selected organizations will be contacted to complete a full application. For more information, contact Paige Korbakes at [email protected].

While immigrants make up a smaller proportion of residents in rural areas than in urban areas, a 2018 Pew Charitable Trusts analysis found that since 2000, immigrants have accounted for 37% of new net population growth in rural counties and have accounted for the majority of US population growth since 1965.

Despite their positive impact on local and regional economies, rural immigrants, migrants and refugees face additional barriers to accessing a stable and meaningful employment, including hiring bias, workplace exploitation, limited financial resources, and limited English proficiency.

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