NEW YORK, June 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- World Education Services (WES) today announced the launch of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. The USD $30 million philanthropic fund will support organizations that seek to bring down the barriers that keep immigrants and refugees from contributing their skills and joining the workforce in their new communities.

As the leading provider of credential evaluations for internationally educated newcomers to Canada and the U.S., WES has long pursued the mission of enabling individuals to fully utilize their education and talent. The WES Mariam Assefa Fund offers a new way for the organization achieve this mission.

“The launch of the fund marks a new era for WES,” said Dewayne Matthews, WES Board member and Chair of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund Committee. “It represents a profound commitment to building on the strategies that WES has long employed to foster the integration and empowerment of immigrants and refugees.”

The challenge of underemployment among immigrants is well documented, and results in billions of dollars of foregone earnings and negative impacts to federal, state, and local economies.

“Newcomers are often held back from meaningful employment or underemployed in survival jobs,” said Monica Munn, Senior Director of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. “The fund will deploy catalytic resources to address that challenge. Our plan is to support organizations that are working to accelerate progress, spur innovation, and permanently dismantle the barriers that hinder economic advancement among immigrants and refugees.”

The fund, which is named after WES’ retiring executive director and CEO Mariam Assefa, will begin its work in the United States later this summer and then expand to Canada.

Incoming CEO Esther Benjamin, who will begin her tenure at WES on June 17, said, “I’m delighted that this new initiative will, through its name and efforts, honor and build on the impressive foundation that Mariam Assefa established during her tenure at WES. I look forward to working with the WES Board and the WES Mariam Assefa Fund team to extend the ways we support and improve the lives of immigrants and refugees along their journey.”

“As the organization transitions from one visionary leader to another, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund provides us the opportunity to spark lasting change that improves communities, economies, and individual lives,” said Hans De Wit, Chair of the WES Board. “I am thrilled to see WES deploy yet another approach to helping immigrants and refugees make full use of their skills and training in the workplaces of today and tomorrow.”

About WES
WES is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping international students and professionals achieve their educational and professional goals in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1974, WES evaluates and advocates for the recognition of international education qualifications. For 45 years, WES has set the standard of excellence in the field of international mobility with credential evaluations, research and services, and ongoing support for international students and skilled immigrants. WES has provided credential evaluations to almost two million people worldwide. WES evaluations are widely recognized by more than 2,500 educational, business, and governmental institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada.

For more information: Ashley Craddock, Director of Strategic Communications, World Education Services T: 512.212.3998