LinkedIn brings refugee assistance program to the U.S.

As a social network dedicated to improving the economic and professional status of its members, LinkedIn constantly looks to help people land their dream job and move up in the world. This includes people no matter where they come from or background, namely refugees.

In February, the company launched a program called Welcome Talent with the aim of connecting refugees to internships in their host country. It quickly expanded from Sweden to Canada in a matter of months. And on Sunday, LinkedIn announced that Welcome Talent will debut in the U.S. this week, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

“While we can’t control policies around entry of refugees into countries, we can lead with opportunity and help newly settled refugees find economic livelihood,” wrote Meg Garlinghouse, LinkedIn’s head of social good. “Indeed, our country was built in large part by the work of immigrants and their descendants – and like our foremothers and forefathers, refugees are seeking that same opportunity to contribute.”

The professional social networking company will assist the IRC in implementing “economic empowerment programs in its 30 U.S. offices” so refugees can get the right training and tools needed to find a job they love and can support their families.

LinkedIn’s announcement comes the same weekend after massive protests erupted nationwide in response to Trump’s executive order temporarily barring refugees, immigrants, and those with green cards from entering the U.S. The Microsoft-owned business joins a growing list of companies that have either condemned the White House’s action or took direct action in support of their employees.

Garlinghouse cited success from the Welcome Talent pilot as signs that LinkedIn can benefit refugees. In Sweden, it partnered with 50 companies to help approximately 2,000 refugees. That led to bringing the program to Canada, which has been quite receptive to bringing in people fleeing their war-torn countries. In its second expansion, LinkedIn teamed with the Refugee Career Jumpstart Project, COSTI, and the government agency Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s chief executive, has frequently touted the company’s drive towards boosting the economic graph for its 467 million-plus members. So it’s not surprising to see it look at refugees at the next group of people it hopes to beneficially impact. From LinkedIn Learning to networking, there’s plenty of resources that can be brought to bear and with the capabilities of its parent company Microsoft, refugees could soon get back on their feet faster and contribute to the U.S. economy.

Besides LinkedIn, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also issued a statement this weekend on his thoughts around immigrants: “As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”

Source: LinkedIn brings refugee assistance program to the U.S.

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