LinkedIn Speeds Up Plans to Launch Refugee Program in U.S.

The program, Welcome Talent, launched as a pilot in Sweden last February

LinkedIn responded to this past weekend’s executive order by President Donald Trump banning refugees from certain countries by accelerating its plans to expand its refugee program to the U.S.

Head of LinkedIn for Good Meg Garlinghouse announced the move in a blog post Sunday, saying that the program, Welcome Talent, launched as a pilot last February, starting in Sweden, and it was extended to Canada last October.

According to Garlinghouse, the Welcome Talent pilot in Sweden involved more than 50 companies and helped place some 2,000 refugees. She wrote:

LinkedIn is committed to creating economic opportunity for all members of the global workforce, regardless of country of origin or religious belief. These are precisely the values on which our country was founded. While we can’t control policies around entry of refugees into countries, we can lead with opportunity and help newly settled refugees find economic livelihood. Indeed, our country was built in large part by the work of immigrants and their descendants–and like our foremothers and forefathers, refugees are seeking that same opportunity to contribute.

Consistent with these beliefs, we are accelerating pre-existing plans to expand our refugee program to the U.S. to support refugees already residing in this country. In partnership with the International Rescue Committee, this week we will start providing financial resources and training to IRC staff to help newly settled refugees more quickly find jobs that leverage the skills they are bringing into the U.S. economy. More specifically, LinkedIn’s support will help the IRC implement economic empowerment programs in its 30 U.S. offices to help their clients achieve their ultimate goal of economic self-sufficiency.

LinkedIn has a unique opportunity to use our platform to help especially skilled refugees find economic opportunity more quickly. And we are seeing firsthand the economic contribution and success they are having in their new countries. Similarly, we know that LinkedIn is a stronger and better company because of the diversity of our workforce. We are grateful to have world class talent from these recently affected countries working for us and will do everything in our power to protect their status.

More broadly, we’re fortunate to be a part of Microsoft, which outlined its beliefs on this issue, and look forward to working with them, policymakers, other companies and civil society to promote immigration policies that recognize and promote economic growth for all.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Sunday’s announcement by LinkedIn? David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.