As a social network dedicated to improving the economic and professional status of its members, LinkedIn constantly looks to help people land their dream job and move up in the world — no matter where they come from or what their background may be.
In February, the company launched a program called Welcome Talent with the aim of connecting refugees to internships in their host country. It expanded from Sweden to Canada in a matter of months. And on Sunday, LinkedIn announced that Welcome Talent will debut in the U.S. this week, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
“While we can’t control policies around entry of refugees into countries, we can lead with opportunity and help newly settled refugees find economic livelihood,” wrote Meg Garlinghouse, LinkedIn’s head of social good. “Indeed, our country was built in large part by the work of immigrants and their descendants – and like our foremothers and forefathers, refugees are seeking that same opportunity to contribute.”
The professional social networking company will assist the IRC in implementing “economic empowerment programs in its 30 U.S. offices” so refugees can get the training and tools needed to find a job they love, and can support their families.
LinkedIn’s announcement comes the same weekend as massive protests erupted nationwide in response to Trump’s Executive Order temporarily barring many refugees, immigrants, and those with green cards from entering the U.S. The Microsoft-owned business joins a growing list of companies that have either condemned the White House’s action or taken direct action in support of their employees.
Garlinghouse cited success from the Welcome Talent pilot as a sign that LinkedIn can benefit refugees. In Sweden, it partnered with 50 companies to help approximately 2,000 refugees, and Canada has been quite receptive to bringing in people fleeing war-torn countries. In its second expansion, LinkedIn teamed up with the Refugee Career Jumpstart Project, COSTI, and the government agency Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s chief executive, has frequently touted the company’s drive to boost the economic graph for its 467 million-plus members. So it’s not surprising to see LinkedIn working to help refugees. From LinkedIn Learning to networking, there are plenty of resources that can be brought to bear, and with the capabilities of LinkedIn’s parent company Microsoft, refugees could get back on their feet faster and be once again contributing to the U.S. economy.
Besides LinkedIn, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also issued a statement this weekend about immigration: “As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”