Poster Paper: Immigration in the Hudson Valley: Workforce Challenges and Opportunities

Thursday, November 8, 2018
Exhibit Hall C - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Melinda I. Weisberg, Jessica Hasapis, Gabriella Landicino, Morgan O'Coin and Prateek Samal, Marist College

This study, conducted in the spring and summer of 2017, addresses the impact that immigration has had on business in the Hudson Valley region of New York. The Bureau of Labor statistics reports that immigrants are a significant segment of our workforce, comprising almost 17% in 2015. The numbers regionally are equally strong yet the related support offered to businesses and workers has not been prioritized or coordinated. This support includes development of language competencies, assistance with financing for immigrant entrepreneurs, and sustaining needed workers in the current political climate.

In recognition of the need to develop recommendations for strengthening the immigrant workforce and providing access to services, this study seeks to establish the estimated numbers of businesses and workers impacted by immigration in the counties of Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan, as well as to identify current support, resources needed, and potential collaborations and partnerships. Specific questions that guided our research include:

  • What are the challenges facing both organizations and businesses related to strengthening the immigrant workforce?
  • How have these challenges been overcome and/or what resources are needed?
  • What institutions, organizations, and /or situations have helped or hindered the provision of services to the immigrant workforce.

The study is mixed method involving both anonymous surveys and semi-structured interviews. The surveys gathered information from area businesses and nonprofit organizations in order to determine current support, challenges, and successes. Semi-structured interviews with organizations providing support for the immigrant workforce assisted in identifying not only needs, challenges, and successes but also opportunities for partnerships. A wide breadth of sectors were included in the survey of businesses. Equally diverse were the organizations surveyed and interviewed including colleges, nonprofits, advocacy groups, and government entities.

A portion of the research has been solicited by the New York State Office of New Americans via a grant awarded to Catholic Charities. The research is supported in part by an award from the Prenting Family Foundation through the Marist College School of Management to provide funds for student engagement in research.