Most human capital and migration studies classify migrants with limited formal education as “unskilled,” despite substantial skills developed through job and life experiences. Drawing on a binational multi-stage research project that involved interviews with 320 Mexican migrants and return migrants in North Carolina and Guanajuato, Mexico, we identify the lifelong human capital they acquired and transferred throughout their careers and discover that these include not only basic education and English, but also technical and social skills and competences acquired informally on and off the job throughout the course of one’s life. We further find that the learning and transfer of skills is a lifelong, gendered process, reflecting the different social contexts and jobs in which men and women learn. In this paper we document several mobility pathways associated with the acquisition and transfer of skills across the migratory circuit, including reskilling, occupational mobility, job jumping, and entrepreneurship.
Sergio Chávez, Jean-Luc Demonsant, and Jacqueline Hagan, “Identifying and Measuring the Lifelong Human Capital of 'Unskilled' Migrants in the Mexico-U.S. Migratory Circuit”, Journal of Migration and Human Security, vol. 2, n. 2, 2014, pp. 76–100.
Journal of Migration and Human Security, vol. 2, n. 2, 2014, pp. 76–100