New Research Shows Essentiality of Immigrants to Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Christopher Plummer | August 18, 2020

CWS urges the Virginia General Assembly to support an inclusive agenda in 2021 to strengthen immigrant and refugees’ workforce development opportunities.

Shenandoah Valley, VA– CWS welcomes new research by New American Economy highlighting how immigrants serve in essential industries and carry out vital roles that keep Shenandoah Valley functioning. The new report reveals that immigrants comprise more than 28.6% of all food processing workers, 15.6% of restaurant and food service workers, 14.9% of business owners in general service and 10.5% of business owners in the construction industry.

In partnership with Refugee Council USA, today’s report highlights how immigrants are both essential to Shenandoah Valley’s rapid response efforts to COVID-19 and face unique challenges, as they serve on the frontlines of the pandemic with increased risks of infection. 

“For those of us that have the privilege to welcome immigrants and refugees to our communities, we have long known the contributions they make as our new neighbors. They are a driving force in our economy and a vital part of both established and emerging businesses,” said Reverend John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service. “Today’s report shows how immigrants are taking part in the American experience in Shenandoah Valley, and is emblematic of how they participate in communities across our nation. Whether in local businesses or national industries, we celebrate the strength they bring and look forward to seeing how they will help our country continue to grow.”

“Refugees and immigrants are central to keeping the Shenandoah Valley thriving. When they aren’t volunteering and serving their neighbors, they are fueling growth and ensuring an economic future that benefits all. Immigrants have bought into the promise of Virginia and have committed to keeping Virginians safe and healthy during this pandemic,” said Susannah Lepley, Director of Church World Service Virginia, “There’s an old cliche that you find out who your friends are in times of trouble, well, immigrants and refugees have shown their friendship; now it’s time for us to show friendship right back by supporting workforce development opportunities so they can better support the prosperity of our great state.”

For more information on Church World Service and refugee contributions during COVID-19 visit or contact