Acting US Dept. of Labor secretary, NY officials discuss job opportunities for newly arriving immigrants

The roundtable aimed to address ongoing efforts to ensure that those in the city who want to work can find suitable employment, especially those who are currently seeking asylum.

Edric Robinson

Apr 11, 2024, 11:23 PM

Updated 48 days ago

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Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, along with state and local officials, participated in a discussion with the immigration rights group, African Communities Together (ACT) on creating job opportunities for newly arriving immigrants.
The roundtable aimed to address ongoing efforts to ensure that those in the city who want to work can find suitable employment, especially those who are currently seeking asylum.
“We need to build on the assets that already exist, connect them so when somebody comes and needs a job needs to be connected that we have an ecosystem in place to make that happen,” said Julie Su.
Su, speaking to a group of African migrants, praised local efforts on the community level like ACT, but stressed the need for better connectivity between community initiatives and relevant government entities to maximize their impact.
“Between President [Joe] Biden’s commitment and the Department of Labor’s resources, we do have parts of the ecosystem for connecting people to good jobs, there are job centers, we have funding for programs, partnerships for training- we just need to connect all of those things together so that everybody gets to benefit,” said Su.
According to officials, the state reached out to over 68,000 asylum seekers so far.
Roberta Reardon, with the New York state Department of Labor, says 12,000 businesses across the state have posted 45,000 job openings. But she highlights that migrants must have relevant documents, such as the EAD employment authorization.
“Because of the obvious legal restrictions we can’t introduce people to employers until we know you have your EAD,” said Reardon
Advocates acknowledged the time-consuming process of obtaining an EAD, prompting community groups to establish interim support programs. Amaha Kassa, executive director of African Communities Together, urged for greater support for migrants.
“They just need a lil bit of support to be able to work, whether that's speeding up work authorizations, helping people get stable housing, all of the things you need to do to get up and go to work every day,” said Kassa.
Once documents are obtained Reardon said individuals can spring into action but she emphasized the importance of not confining individuals to New York City for employment opportunities.
"If you’re here in the city and you want to work in Rochester, or Binghamton, or the North Country, we’d be happy to help you make that connection," said Reardon.


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