Can Immigrant Professionals Help Reduce Teacher Shortages in the U.S.?

Jeff Gross
Date of Publication: 
November, 2018
Source Organization: 
World Education Services

This report’s central concern is how foreign-trained immigrant professionals who are unemployed, underemployed or working in low-skill jobs can help fill persistent teaching shortages in various parts of the United States, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Career and Technical Education (CTE), bilingual and special education. The author presents models for making traditional teacher education structures more responsive to the strengths and needs of immigrant professionals, both those with backgrounds in education and those looking for a career change. The author also argues that alternate certification routes, although not necessarily designed with immigrant professionals in mind, may be a means to diversify the teaching field. A key concept that runs throughout the report is the idea that school districts can develop their own pipelines of teachers of color, as part of what is referred to as a “Grow Your Own” philosophy. Model programs in Washington state, California, Oregon, New York City and Seattle are described, along with federal initiatives that have helped develop new models of collaboration between local school districts, teacher education programs and immigrant community-based organizations. Common activities include the opening of career centers that provide help dealing with the complexities of certification and creating opportunities for prospective teachers to work in schools alongside licensed mentors. The report also highlights the work of community-based organizations that have taken the lead in helping immigrant professionals better understand the certification process (e.g., Upwardly Global). (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University)

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Gross, J. (2018). Can Immigrant Professionals Help Reduce Teacher Shortages in the U.S.? Global Talent Bridge. Available at