New report spotlights skilled immigrants in Gateway City regions

New research by the Brookings Institution adds to our understanding of immigrants in Gateway City regions. The report looks at the balance between low-skill (those without a high school degree or equivalent) and high-skill immigrants (those with a BA or higher) in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.

Findings show that high-skill immigrants in Greater Worcester outnumber low-skill immigrants by a ratio of nearly two to one. The Worcester metro area has one of the largest ratios of high- to low-skilled immigrants in the nation. Surprisingly, Worcester’s ratio is significantly higher than the Boston metro area’s.

In the Springfield region, which has proportionately fewer immigrants than Worcester, there is a more even balance between low- and high-skilled immigrants. Hartford –Springfield’s southern neighbor – has many more immigrants and a higher immigrant skill ratio.

The Brookings research shows that the nation’s immigrants are increasingly high-skilled. In 1980, less than 20 percent had college degrees; today nearly 30 percent have earned a BA or higher. The data also suggest that immigrants tend to be more underemployed than native-born Americans. In Gateway City regions eager to find talented workers, helping immigrants fully utilize their skills looks like a promising workforce strategy.

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