Pathways to Prosperity: The Next Step Provides Education Funding for Residents With Foreign Degrees

Pathways to Prosperity: The Next Step Provides Education Funding for Residents With Foreign Degrees Main Photo

24 May 2024

The Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (RMCEP) is currently accepting applications for education funding to support residents who moved to Minnesota from abroad and struggled to transfer their degrees and certificates. If you moved to the United States and discovered you couldn’t work in your chosen field because your certificate was not recognized, RMCEP can help you transfer valid credits and fund any coursework you need to complete.

“People arrive in the United States with associate’s degrees or higher and cannot enter the workforce in the field they have studied and practiced in,” says Azad Berwari. Assistant Team Leader and P2P Navigator. “I’ve seen people doing janitorial work or any job they can find. They cannot take advantage of the skills or training they had back home.”

To address this, RMCEP is using Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) funding to launch The Next Step grant program. Immigrants, refugees, and BIPOC residents can apply for education funding and receive support throughout the degree transfer process. This is a two-year grant issued by the Minnesota state legislature.

Understanding the Degree Transfer Process  

Oftentimes, individuals who arrive from abroad have to restart their degrees to work in the United States. For example, a dental hygienist who moves to Minnesota from Vietnam will need to spend multiple years and thousands of dollars to receive a degree to work in a dentist's office, regardless of how much experience they have. RMCEP is using P2P funding to help individuals transfer their degrees so they can enter the workforce faster.

“It’s sad we can’t take advantage of the skills these residents have because their degrees are not accepted in the United States,” says Azad. “Businesses are looking to hire experienced workers, but these highly skilled workers are left out of the job pool.”

Here are the steps involved if you want to use your degree and transfer any valid credits:

  1. Translate your transcript into English. This will highlight your completed coursework and make it easier to identify relevant expertise. 
  2. Send your transcript to World Education Services (WES). This organization will consider how many valid credits you have toward an American degree. 
  3. Decide whether you want to complete your degree or pursue another field. Identify the next step in your career path.
  4. Apply for grant funding through RMCEP. Let us cover the cost of your education.

If your grant application is approved, you will attend a career planning session with one of RMCEP’s counselors. They can guide you through the process of completing your education and reentering the workforce. 

P2P Funding Supports Six In-Demand Industries for the Region

Grant funding for The Next Step program is flagged for individuals who want to transfer their degrees and enter six in-demand fields in Minnesota: agriculture, education, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and wholesale distribution. Applicants will decide whether their existing degrees support one of these industries or if they're interested in pursuing a new career path in these fields.

For example, a teacher may decide to transfer any applicable credits and complete their American teaching license so they can re-enter the classroom. They could also decide to start fresh and enter another chosen field. The P2P funding will cover both of these options.

Applicants for P2P funding through RMCEP must be residents of Minnesota and must be authorized to work in the United States. 

Degree Transfers Support Rural Minnesota as a Whole

The P2P funding has the potential to change the lives of the immigrants who call Minnesota home.. The Next Step grant can help people establish their careers in the United States and support their families. However, this program can also support business leaders and lifelong Minnesota residents.

“The business community is looking for people to hire,” says Azad. “RMCEP has already received letters of support from 28 businesses who are eager to get involved in the program, either by hiring individuals who complete their degrees or offering job training opportunities.”

Along with expanding the local talent pool, P2P funding means rural Minnesota residents will soon have access to greater healthcare resources, additional teachers, and other skilled professionals nearby providing valuables sources. They might not have to drive as far if their immigrant neighbors can practice the skills they work so hard to develop. 

Apply for P2P Funding Today 

RMCEP offers more than just grant funding. It provides a variety of services to support people as they pursue skilled careers. Along with helping immigrants and refugees, RMCEP can provide resources and funding to people of color, those with disabilities, residents with criminal records, and workers without stable housing. Regardless of your background or current walk of life, we are here to help you.

Contact RMCEP today to discuss your options and apply for P2P funding.