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including hands-on report and interview with Allie Levinsky, VP of Product & Partnerships at Upwardly Global

USA: Upwardly Global

Relaunching Careers Through a Digital Service Model

Starting position/challenge

Often with relevant skills and education from their home countries, millions of immigrants and refugees are unemployed or underemployed in subsistence level jobs, despite being in their prime working age. This results in costly brain-waste for the US economy, adding up to $39.4 billion/32,5 billion Euros in forgone wages and $10.2 billion/8,2 billion Euros in unrealised tax payments annually. Cultural norms and nuances of the welcoming economy often become permanent barriers to career entry, including lack of a professional network, complexity of licensing and credentialing, limited resources available to develop professional level English, and unfamiliarity with U.S.-style networking and interviewing.

Implementation of the Model

Upwardly Global (UpGlo) was founded by a programme director in the U.S. refugee resettlement system who saw no system in place to support with long-term economic integration. Upwardly Global grew from a local to a national organisation that since 2013 has digitised many aspects of its service delivery to allow for remote services across the entire United States.

UpGlo’s services include a hybrid model of in-person and virtual resources. It includes 1:1 career coaching, where a coach is designated to work with a specific client for the duration of their job search journey. Corporate volunteer events with UpGlo partners build skills through face- to-face mock interviews and speed networking sessions and facilitate direct interaction between refugee job seekers and Upglo’s employer partners. Clients also have access to acculturation training modules and virtual English language education through a partnership with the largest provider of online English education in the world. Through this partnership, best-in-class ESL software expands access to professional level English education that fills existing gaps in the market. Additionally, Upwardly Global’s reskilling program provides information and ad vice to connect newcomers with technical training (aligned with job opportunities). UpGlo’s focus is not just on supply but also on labour market demand. As such, UpGlo educates and engages a national employer network of 300+ businesses and organisations about this uniquely qualified, but untapped talent pool of refugees. UpGlo helps these employers to implement globally inclusive hiring environments because, with millions of refugees worldwide, this is a critical component of any smart talent development strategy.


Upwardly Global successfully injects digital innovation and close cooperation with the private sector into the integration mix. It is not only a cost-efficient programme, but also a highly efficient one. Over the past 17 years, with a limited budget, UpGlo has served over 10,000 job seekers from 105 countries, placed over 5,000 immigrants and refugees in professional jobs, partnered with over 300 employers, and advised national workforce and immigration policy. About 55-60% of the programme participants find jobs in STEM and healthcare, helping to fill critical skills gaps in the U.S. economy.

Target Group:

Local, national, and international policy makers, project coordinators 


Upwardly Global (UpGlo) offers soft skills training and advises on licensing and credentials to help immigrants and refugees re-establish careers in the welcoming country

Aillie Levinsky, VP of Products & Partnerships / Paige Korbakes, Central Region Programme Director