Immigrants and refugees are vital to the social and economic fabric of our state, representing over a third of California’s workforce, contributing over a third of California’s GDP, and helping to bring California’s economy back from the Great Recession.
However, training, education, and jobs necessary for economic mobility are largely out of reach for immigrant and refugee workers. Thirty-two percent of California immigrants lack a high school diploma. Lack of childcare and transportation, language barriers, and a complex system of eligibility requirements means that few are able to access training programs or living wage jobs. Even when immigrants are able to secure jobs, they earn an average of 26% less than workers born in the US. And despite California’s leadership, with some of the most progressive worker protection laws in the country, immigrant and refugee workers still face harassment, retaliation, and discrimination in the workplace because of their status.