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Eight New Communities Join the 2020 Skilled Immigrant Integration Program

Monday January 6, 2020 | by Morris Ardoin, APR

Buffalo, N.Y., Salem, Ore., Atlanta, Tulsa, Okla., Cincinnati, and the states of New Jersey, Nevada, and Indiana to get customized training from WES Global Talent Bridge and our partners

Eight communities around the country have been selected to receive customized technical assistance, engage in a community of practice with monthly calls, working groups and additional training, and participate in a national convening – all designed to help advance their efforts to fully integrate skilled immigrants into their economies this year.

Based on their track records of supporting immigrant professional success through local programs and initiatives, the cities of Buffalo, N.Y., Salem, Ore., Atlanta, Tulsa, Okla., Cincinnati; and the states of New Jersey, Nevada, and Indiana were chosen by the World Education Services (WES) Global Talent Bridge program to participate in the Skilled Immigrant Integration Program for 2020.

“Our congratulations go out to these hard-working communities,” says Paul Feltman, deputy executive director for global talent policy and programs at WES. The program offers an opportunity for communities to further their state and local skilled immigrant integration initiatives, explains Feltman. “We are very encouraged by the commitment that each of these communities has made to advance local immigrant integration and are looking forward to working closely with them to take their efforts to the next level. If they are successful we know their communities will benefit tremendously.”

The eight 2020 communities join the sixteen “alumni” communities from two previous years of the program. These alumni communities will stay connected to the growing program by mentoring and other activities going forward. Thus, 24 cohorts across the country – from Maine to Alaska – are all now working with WES to meaningfully integrate the professional skills and talents of immigrants into their local economies.

2019 participant Christa Yoakum, coordinator of Nebraska Appleseed, said of Lincoln, Nebraska’s experience in the program:Dedicated community members, including strong coalitions of nonprofit organizations in partnerships with Lincoln’s Chamber… have seen momentum working towards solutions that benefit individuals, the community, and employers.”

Ann Savino, program specialist at Texas Adult Education and Literacy, said, “Being part of this national program is a great opportunity for our providers to develop networks with others committed to the service model of working with skilled immigrants and to share their own expertise as we focus on this population across the state.”

In the course of the year, the WES Global Talent Bridge team and other national experts will provide each of the communities with a total of 24 hours of hands-on coaching, advising, and technical assistance as well as four interactive web-based training sessions on immigrant professional integration. Organizations providing technical assistance include Community College Consortium for Immigrant EducationNational Skills CoalitionUpwardly GlobalWelcome Back Initiative; and Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.

WES Global Talent Bridge will lead monthly calls where communities will share ideas and provide updates on their progress. Additionally, WES Global Talent Bridge is sponsoring delegates from each of the eight new communities to participate in the Immigrant Economic Integration Summit, a working conference scheduled for early April in Washington, D.C.

“We know this work is being built on the shoulders of grassroots organizations, service providers, and our community of partners,” said Betty Cruz, project director of All for All in Pittsburgh. “In the end, it’s about charting a sustainable path that is not dependent on any one person or institution.”

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Morris Ardoin, an accredited public relations practitioner (APR), is director of communication and marketing for Global Talent Bridge.