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Mayor's Office

2020 Media Releases

January 24, 2020
Media Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, City Communications, 402-441-7511
Mindy Rush Chipman, Lincoln Commission on Human Rights, 402-441-8691

Mayor Accepts Grant for Project to Help Foreign-Trained Professionals

CareerLadder initiative promotes workforce development

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today accepted an Innovation Grant from the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) DollarWise Campaign during the USMC's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The $10,000 grant will support the City's CareerLadder project to help foreign-trained professionals to re-enter their careers and to connect those without previous experience to in-demand careers.

"My city believes in inclusion and has a long history of welcoming immigrants and refugees," Mayor Gaylor Baird told conference attendees. "We work hard to remove barriers to their successful integration into American life - barriers such as the fact that recent data indicates many of our new American residents have postsecondary education but are not employed in their fields. Lincoln will use DollarWise Innovation funds to implement a CareerLadder Project to help our community members move out of entry-level and part-time positions and return to the highly-skilled careers that they enjoyed in their home countries."

Mindy Rush Chipman, Director of the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights (LCHR), said the CareerLadder program will also work to cultivate a network of Lincoln professionals to serve as mentors while participants develop English competency and professional training and to facilitate leadership development.

Since its inception, DollarWise has given grants to cities that bring innovation to their economic mobility efforts. Each year, DollarWise offers USCM members the opportunity to apply for an award through its Innovation Grant Program. As of 2019, DollarWise has awarded grants to 85 cities. The DollarWise Innovation Grants Program is designed to foster innovative efforts that help working people and families, particularly within underserved and underrepresented communities, attain access to economic mobility.

Other cities receiving grants this year are Detroit, Michigan; Boston, Massachusetts; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Syracuse, New York; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and West Sacramento, California.

Rush Chipman said a recent survey of over 500 of Lincoln's immigrants and refugees showed that 30 percent have postsecondary education but are not employed in their field. Instead, many are working in entry-level positions or working multiple part-time jobs.

"This grant will help skilled individuals return to their highly skilled careers such as law, healthcare, engineering, accounting, and teaching," Rush Chipman said. "Lincoln currently has 4,000 open jobs with an unemployment rate less than 3 percent. This effort will assist in filling positions and increasing family economic stability."

Rush Chipman said members of Lincoln's immigrant and refugee community helped develop the CareerLadder project in collaboration with local agencies and cultural centers. The effort was supported by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Civic Nebraska, Nebraska Appleseed and the Asian Community and Cultural Center, with technical assistance from the World Educational Services Global Talent Bridge.

More information on LCHR is available at (keyword: rights). More information on the USCM is available at

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