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Immigrants and refugees: Untapped data science potential

February 8, 2022


In brief

Immigrants and refugees: A robust source of data science skills

Data science skills: No longer just an IT need

An open mind and creativity: Tapping into the immigrant and refugee community


Companies that hire hidden workers are 44% less likely to face challenges finding workers with the necessary skills and 35% less likely to face challenges meeting diversity goals.


The number of job postings in the New York metropolitan area requiring data science and data engineering skills, between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021.

A new model: Filling the data science talent pipeline

Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS)

Success stories demonstrate the power of collaboration

Improving interview skills for a Java role

Idris Askarov was referred to Upwardly Global's program in May 2021. He relocated to Texas from Kazakhstan, where he worked as a Java developer for large banking institutions. As he began his job search in the U.S., he was focused on refreshing his technical skills in Java. He worked closely with Upwardly Global's program to prepare for interviews, connected with volunteers for technical interview preparation, and worked with an Upwardly Global volunteer for language coaching. All of these interactions and Idris's skill building increased his confidence. In only a few months, he began receiving more interviews, including one for a Java developer role at Accenture, where he is now employed.

Building on advanced degrees for data analyst job

Frederic Gomes came to the U.S. from Senegal with two master’s degrees and big dreams, but quickly hit hurdles in putting his education and experience to work here. “Upwardly Global helped me go from barely surviving with two jobs to thriving in a new job at Accenture,” he says. “I’m proud to work for a change-making organization that values diversity and delivers results.” Frederic, who was Upwardly Global's 50th placement with Accenture, is currently an Accenture digital business integration senior analyst.

Enhancing networking for a data scientist role

One person, referred to Upwardly Global in August 2019, had relocated to New Jersey from his home country (Turkey), where he worked as a research engineer and data scientist. After a year of searching for a data scientist role with little success, he applied to join Upwardly Global's program. He worked closely with his advisor on crafting an updated resume, conducting mock interviews, and stepping up networking online and through events and volunteer connections. He also took data science courses to develop his data science skills in machine learning, Python, and big data. Armed with an updated resume and newfound confidence in his additional skills gained through the program, he eventually landed a job as a data scientist with a large American retail chain.

Preparing for a data engineer position

Another person learned of Upwardly Global in his home country (Algeria), where he had a background in computer science. Upon joining Upwardly Global, he received guidance first on narrowing down his career plans, which ultimately took him to data science. He then learned how to prepare for behavioral interviews and network effectively, and was introduced to several employer partners, which gave him valuable knowledge and experience in the U.S. interview process. He also took additional coursework that focused on data science skills such as SQL, Python, and data visualization. These new skills enabled him to apply for a fellowship and, despite the pandemic slowing things down, land his first full-time job as a data engineer at a U.S. grocery retailer, where he currently works. 

Call to action: A creative and effective approach to employment

Wendy Chan

Strategy and Consulting Senior Manager – Accenture Federal Services

Wendy works extensively with public and private sector clients on strategic planning, organizational transformation and more.

Fernando Constantino

Senior Manager, Applied Intelligence

Fernando develops artificial intelligence solutions with leading Silicon Valley partners and academic institutions.

Kristina Shahoian

Manager – Marketing and Communications, Applied Intelligence



BIDS Data Science Outreach Lead


BIDS Communications/Program Manager


BIDS Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences Lead

Jennie Murray

Upwardly Global Vice President of Programs

Fahad Alnimah

Upwardly Global Program Manager

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