Join this webinar to learn about state-level innovative workforce development efforts that support the inclusion of internationally educated immigrants and refugees in the local workforce.

Immigrants and refugees and other displaced people who arrive in the United States with international education and qualifications often confront barriers in the U.S. that prevent them from securing employment at a level commensurate with their international experience. Despite their multilingual skills, cross-cultural competencies, and years of experience in their fields, there are approximately 2 million college-educated immigrants and refugees who are underemployed or unemployed; of this group, 60 percent hold international credentials.

During this session, you will hear from subject-matter experts and policymakers on steps state officials can take to reduce systemic barriers to occupational licensure for internationally educated immigrants and refugees.


World Education Services

Kathy Tran

Virginia State Delegate

When she was just seven months old, Kathy Tran fled Vietnam with her parents as boat refugees. As the Delegate for Virginia’s 42nd House District, Kathy fights to protect the values that led her parents to risk everything to come to the United States: hope, opportunity, and freedom. Since her election in 2017, Kathy has introduced and passed bills to protect coverage for preexisting conditions, expand voter access, improve worker’s rights, protect waterways, and make Virginia more welcoming and inclusive. Kathy graduated from Duke University and earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan. She spent 12 years working at the U.S. Department of Labor and at the National Immigration Forum. The past president of her local PTA, she and her husband Matt live in West Springfield with their five children, all avid Washington Nationals fans.

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Dr. Theresa Mah, Ph.D.

Illinois State Representative

Illinois State Representative Theresa Mah is a former professor with a doctorate in modern American history who taught history, ethnic studies, and Asian American studies. A San Francisco native and graduate of UC Berkeley, Rep. Mah first came to Illinois for graduate studies at the University of Chicago over 25 years ago.

Representative Mah made history in 2016 when she became the first Asian American elected to serve in the Illinois General Assembly. As a public servant, Rep. Mah is a constant advocate for working families, seniors, and immigrant communities. In the state legislature, Rep. Mah is a strong champion of progressive policies that support economic opportunity, public education, environmental justice, healthcare access, affordable housing, immigrant rights, senior services, and consumer protection. Rep. Mah is currently the chair of the Health Care and Licenses Committee and Asian American House Caucus whip. She serves on the committees for Housing, Immigration & Human Rights, and Elementary & Secondary Education Appropriations, among others.

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Andrew LaFratte

Executive Policy Specialist, Pennsylvania Department of State

Andrew LaFratte is an Executive Policy Specialist for the Pennsylvania Department of State. In this role, he focuses on removing barriers to occupational licensure for professionals who live and work in Pennsylvania. He has been with the Department since 2019 and holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public & International Affairs.

World Education Services

Fatima Sanz - MODERATOR

Policy Manager, WES Global Talent Bridge

Fatima is the Policy Manager at WES Global Talent Bridge. In her role, she focuses on advocating for administrative and legislative changes that lead to a fair chance for immigrants and refugees to reach their educational and career goals. Fatima works on federal and state legislation. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the Fels Institute of Government, and received her B.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.