- According to American Immigration Council, Florida immigrants make up more than 25% of the labor force, and in 2018, they comprised 21% of the U.S. population.
- The State of Florida’s Refugee Program accepts more than 27 000 refugees, asylees, and Cuban/Haitian entrants each year. In Hillsborough and Pinellas county, Cubans make up 80% of arrivals, but there are also people from Haiti, Iraq, Burma, Egypt, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, among others.
- Approximately 25% of each year’s new refugees to Florida are children under the age of 19, many unaccompanied minors.
- 45.8% of the foreign-born population in Florida state that they either do not speak English at all or speak it very poorly and this number is increasing (cis.org). This shows an increased need to provide language services and support to immigrants who want to be economically self-sufficient and socially-integrated in a new country.
- In 2018, the most popular industries immigrants worked in were predominantly lower-paying jobs that do not require a degree such as: healthcare and social assistance; retail; construction, accommodation and food services, and waste management (americanimmigrationcouncil.org).
Barriers for Newcomers
As many newcomers do not have the English language skills to move forward with their lives, they face barriers in reaching personal and professional goals:
- Difficulty obtaining employment, promotions, and/or raises
- Not able to support their children in school and/or advocate on their behalf
- Challenged to access community resources and services
- Unable to communicate with physicians and/or mental health providers
- Unprepared to take the U.S. Citizenship Exam (which is administered in English)
- Isolated and not involved in the local community
Our Community Partners
We partner with Learning Empowered, a non-profit organization located in Pinellas County, Florida to provide tutoring services to new immigrants who are enrolled in their classes. Information about the Citizenship program and Legal services can be found on their website at Learning-empowered.org . Learning Empowered’s mission is to alleviate the symptoms and address the causes of poverty through innovative educational programs.