White House Launches a Call to Action for Private Sector Engagement on the Global Refugee Crisis

Read the full text of the White House Fact Sheet

Earlier this summer, the White House issued a Call to Action for the private sector to make “measurable and significant commitments” to support refugees who have fled war and other persecution in Syria, Iraq and beyond.

The Call to Action is timely. On September 20, 2016, US President Barack Obama will host a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the United Nations, convening companies that have made significant and innovative commitments to supporting refugees.

Private sector call to action

Government effort is not enough to successfully support and integrate refugees- the scale of the crisis cannot be solved without a partnership between public and private institutions working together. The Call to Action focuses on securing commitments in three impact areas. One is employment, namely: Increasing employment opportunities, supporting entrepreneurship and facilitating reentry into the workforce.

“For years, the U.S. private sector has helped refugees all over the world rebuild their lives and contribute to their new communities. Drawing on its unique expertise, resources and entrepreneurial spirit, our private sector has created new ways for students to continue learning, adults to gain skills to reenter the workforce, and families to remain connected with their loved ones.” – Call to Action

Good ideas from the White House for the private sector:

  1. Facilitating refugee children and young adults’ education by ensuring that refugee students can access schools of all levels and creating quality long-distance learning platforms and programs.
  2. Helping refugees enter the workforce by providing, or helping refugees obtain, vocational training and needed language-skills, and developing tools that match refugees’ skills with existing employment opportunities.
  3. Providing, or helping refugees obtain, technical assistance and seed funding to allow them to start new businesses.
  4. Promoting refugee employment by hiring refugees, procuring goods and services from refugee-hiring businesses, making investments in frontline states that will generate jobs for both refugees and their host communities, or facilitating access to jobs.
  5. Helping refugees maintain communications connectivity, including access to wireless services in refugee camps and continuity of mobile services across borders.
  6. Ensuring that refugees can access key financial services, notwithstanding their lack of a permanent residence.
  7. Providing or facilitating refugees’ access to quality, affordable housing.
  8. Helping governments take new or additional steps to support refugees, such as by assisting them in resettling additional refugees or helping them implement policies designed to allow refugees to work and attend school.

Major private sector participants and key contributions to-date

  • Accenture will provide strategic consulting, digital services and program management support.
  • AirBnB will donate travel credits for humanitarian workers to book accommodations on the front-lines.
  • Chobani is committed to providing employment opportunities for refugees and works with local refugee centers to that end. Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya created Tent, an organization dedicated to improving the lives and livelihood of refugees through investing in innovation and providing opportunities for education and employment.
  • Coursera created the Coursera for Refugees that will provide access to recognizable certificates.
  • Goldman Sachs contributed $4.5 million to help alleviate and stabilize the crisis in the Mediterranean region and resettlement of 20,000 refugees to the United Kingdom.
  • Google provides funding to innovative solutions that facilitate connectivity, education and access to information to refugees in camps and transit routes.
  • HP provides funding and technology that facilitate access to quality education.
  • IBM is partnering with regional and international NGOs to provide solution to long-term needs of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe.
  • JPMorgan Chase &Co. provides funding for medical treatment, food, clean water and other critical support services.
  • LinkedIn Sweden launched the Welcome Tent to help newly arrived refugees connect with employers who have committed to hiring them.
  • Mastercard works with its partners to provide essential services at critical points in their journey.
  • Microsoft supports nonprofits driving the Syrian refugee crisis relief efforts by ensuring they have the capacity (funds) to provide refugees with access vital basic necessities.
  • TripAdvisor launched partnerships with global humanitarian organizations to support on-the-ground humanitarian efforts.
  • UPS invests in efforts that strengthen security efforts and provides financial support to organizations at the forefront of relief efforts.
  • Western Union supports humanitarian relief efforts throughout the Middle East and Europe that address short-, medium-and long-term needs identified through hand-on field research.

Read full text of Fact Sheet

Additional Resources

his guide provides a glimpse into their skills and educational background as well as practical tips and easy-to-use resources to help employers engage with Canada’s newest arrivals through meaningful employment.

Employer Guide to Hiring Newcomers: Information and Resources

Tips on workplace accommodation,  and sensitive interviewing

Onboarding Syrian Refugees: A Toolkit for Employers