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February 16, 2021


BridgeUSA Coalition

BridgeUSA Coalition
February 16, 2021
The Honorable Antony Blinken
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Blinken:

Congratulations on your confirmation as Secretary of State. As sponsors, host employers, and
associations that represent the Department of State’s BridgeUSA Exchange Program (formerly the J -1
Exchange Visitor Program), we look forward to working with you and your team.
We are heartened by your recent comments to State Department employees during which you
highlighted how people-to-people exchanges, “bring our world closer together and convey the best of
America to the world, especially its young people.”

  • Stimulate more than $1.2 billion in American economic activity, support jobs for Americans in nearly every state and in many sectors of the U.S. economy, and as au pairs provide crucially childcare to more than 17,000 American families. These include the families of medical personnel supporting America’s COVID response and hundreds of military families who could not continue their military service without the support of these programs
  • Advance U.S. national interests by enhancing mutual understanding between the U.S. and people from other countries. As shown in a 2017 study by EurekaFacts, more than 75% of Summer Work Travel (SWT) exchange visitors return to their home countries with a more positive opinion of the United States, and more than 90% would recommend the program to their peers.
  • Operate at virtually no cost to the American taxpayer, support American jobs, and contribute $5, 700 per participant to local economies, more than a half-billion dollars nationally according to EurekaFacts.

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