Minnesota proposes ‘Office of New Americans’ to offer career services to immigrants

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(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, also known as DEED, announced its budget priorities for the next two years Thursday.

DEED wants to dedicate 1.5 million dollars every two years to create an ‘Office of New Americans‘.

It would help support immigrant and refugee integration, reducing barriers to employment, and improving connections between employers and job seekers.

In Austin, more immigrants and refugees make up the local population than the average Minnesota city.

Attorney Sara Karki works with Austin’s immigrants every day and thinks this office could make a big difference to her clients.

“They’re coming to the United States with all of their education and work experience and life experience, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to exactly what Minnesota employers are looking for. Whatever profession it is, is still having all the standards met, but we’re also recognizing that people come with experience from around the world,” Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota Managing Attorney Sara Karki explained.

Karki said in similar offices around the state, they’ve worked on making foreign credentials more understandable for American employers. They’ve streamlined the process of licensing for immigrant entrepreneurs. And they’ve helped new Americans understand American work culture.

Similar offices in other states have also helped immigrant students find a job after college by smoothing the transition between a student visa and a work visa.

Karki also said the whole community benefits from supporting immigrant communities. Something that the governor and DEED have echoed with this latest budget proposal.