By Mary C. Gentile and Maggie Morse

Public-Private Partnerships That Are Changing the World

Newswise — The Darden School of Business’ Institute for Business in Society partners with Concordia and the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships to present the annual P3 Impact Award, which recognizes leading public-private partnerships that improve communities around the world. This year’s award will be presented at the Concordia Annual Summit 18–19 September 2017. The five finalists will be highlighted on Darden Ideas to Action on Fridays leading up to the event.

The Partnership: The Accenture and Upwardly Global Partnership

The Partners:

  • Accenture
  • Upwardly Global (UpGlo)

The Social Challenge: Workforce

More than a million immigrants and refugees are admitted to the United States every year, and many of them struggle to find sustainable employment — especially employment commensurate with their experience. Around 2 million skilled immigrants and refugees in the U.S. are currently unemployed or underemployed despite their advanced education and professional experience. These immigrant job seekers lack understanding of the job search process and the social capital needed, and often experience bias in the recruitment process, as employers lack the means to evaluate foreign credentials and work experience.

The Idea and the Action: In order to help skilled immigrants and refugees secure professional employment, the Accenture and Upwardly Global Partnership launched an online job-training platform that provides free interactive trainings on acculturation, job search skills, resume writing and interviewing. The platform also includes a virtual network for job seekers to interact with peers, professionals and alumni of the program. Through this platform, the partnership provides skilled immigrants and refugees with a better understanding of the job search process, connects them to social networks and helps them overcome recruitment bias by equipping them with the necessary cultural skills.

The Impact: Since its first partnership in 2012, Accenture and UpGlo have reached approximately 4,400 job seekers through the online job training platform, which helped 2,000 job seekers find skill-appropriate employment with an average starting salary of $51,000; prior to the program, over two-thirds of these job seekers were unemployed, while the rest were significantly underemployed, earning less than $20,000 a year. This partnership contributes significantly to the immigrant and refugee communities by raising their employment rates and incomes, and creates a systematic change by continually enabling immigrants and refugees to escape the cycle of poverty and achieve their full potential in the U.S.

The Faculty Insight: The talents, motivation and commitment of skilled immigrants and refugees are resources that no country and no organization can afford to ignore. Through an innovative partnership and creative use of technology, Upwardly Mobile and Accenture are creating pathways to eliminate the large and unnecessary cost to individual families due to underemployment and unemployment; the cost to their communities due to a lack of integration into the social fabric; the cost to the public sector due to increased need for social safety networks; and the cost to employers who miss out on available talent pools.

At a time when economic stresses are contributing to social unrest and biases, this creative partnership raises the profile and the status of the millions of immigrants and refugees who possess much-needed skills, not only improving the lot of these individuals and their families’ lives, but also enabling their potential employers and employee colleagues to recognize and benefit from these workers’ inputs.

It is this sort of creative action that serves to put our oft-touted values of respect for hard work, meritocracy and individuality into practice in ways that counter our fears and prejudices; that feed our natural tendencies toward cooperation; and that raise the self-esteem of employers and employees alike.

About the Faculty

Mary C. Gentile

Recently shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Ideas Into Practice Distinguished Achievement Award and dubbed “the Practical Ethicist” in Compliance Week’s 2017 Top Minds Awards, Gentile is an authority in values-driven leadership. Author of the award-winning book Giving Voice to Values, her curriculum of the same name has been piloted in more... Learn More

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.