Academic journal article Human Ecology

Land of Oportunity: Nikki Cicerani Helps Immigrants Fill In-Demand Professional Jobs

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Land of Oportunity: Nikki Cicerani Helps Immigrants Fill In-Demand Professional Jobs

Article excerpt

As president and CEO of Upwardly Global, Nikki Cicerani '96 is closing the talent gap by removing barriers for educated and work authorized immigrants to find professional jobs.

Many legal, well-educated, highly-skilled immigrants work as cabdrivers, housecleaners, and nannies, or are unemployed because they don't understand American job search conventions or cultural norms and lack professional connections in their new country. "Their network is all back home--their family members, professors, and former employers," says Cicerani.

For skilled immigrants and refugees, UpGlo offers a "starter network," introducing them to employers and providing training. UpGlo clients learn to craft American-style resumes, navigate job interviews, and speak the applied English that employers use to evaluate candidates. In turn, UpGlo's employer partners access a new source of skilled applicants.

The gaps are significant, with ManpowerGroup's 2014 Talent Shortage survey reporting that 40 percent of U.S. companies struggle to fill skilled jobs in health care, engineering, computing, sales, nursing, finance, and accounting.

"It's estimated that there are 1.8 million legal immigrants in the U.S. with bachelor's degrees or above from their home countries who are unemployed or underemployed, and a significant portion of these are work authorized English speakers," says Cicerani. "Why wouldn't you look everywhere to fill these gaps? That's what we encourage our partners to do."

Starting in 2007 as managing director of the New York City office, Cicerani expanded UpGlo's annual reach to more than 1,000 people across 35 states. …

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