African Community Leaders Address Workforce Issues
A nonprofit that represents African immigrants hosted its first ever summit in Brooklyn Park on Thursday. Minnesota Africans United (MAU) addressed workforce challenges within the African immigrant community.
African community leaders say many skilled and educated immigrants are unable to get a job because many Minnesota employers don’t recognize their credentials. They say the credentials includes education credits.
“We have complications of completed job applications and we have the talents,” said Basil Ajuo, CEO of Minnesota Africans United. But the system is so bureaucratic in such a way that navigating and getting your foot in the door is one of the most difficult things,” said Basil Ajuo, executive director of Minnesota Africans United.
MAU introduced a bill at the state legislature that would recognize foreign credentials. The group also wants to increase resources for African communities.
Ajuo said the future of Minnesota’s workforce and economy heavily relies on the African and other immigrant populations. A report published on the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis website reports that African immigrants brought in $2.5 billion in earnings during 2015.
“The pipeline between the employer and African immigrants committee is also lacking. This why Minnesota Africans United is standing to build this coalition. So we can work with the state of Minnesota, with corporate, businesses, nonprofit to see how we can help them close this gap,” Ajuo explained.
Despite the workforce challenges, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis report also shows that the labor force among African immigrants in Minnesota is higher than all immigrants, as well as people born in the U.S.