Date of Graduation

Fall 12-2022

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education (IME)

First Advisor

Dr. Sedique Popal

Second Advisor

Dr. Jessica Blundell

Third Advisor

Dr. Luz Garcia


The issue of brain waste and underemployment among highly skilled immigrants is a key issue facing the United States today. This problem of equity has turned into an issue of economic stability in a country with a waning population whose workforce will soon depend on immigrant and international workers. Multiple agencies, including government programs and nonprofits, are attempting to address this issue from a language learning perspective. Using the theoretical framework of Cultural Capital and Community Cultural Wealth, this research project suggests that the key to reducing brain waste and underemployment among highly skilled immigrants is to take the focus off language acquisition before reclaiming one’s previous occupational status, and instead focus on workforce development with on the job language training, all of which is provided by employers. The resulting product is a website that targets employers and provides essential information on the vitality of immigrant and international workers and why investing in the current language learning workforce is an equitable, economical, and sustainable decision.


Dedicated to the immigrants in my life, students and friends, who have inspired me with their tenacity, awed me with their dedication, and shown me the future is always hopeful. Thank you for sharing your stories and lives with me.