Our series on the WES Global Talent Bridge Skilled Immigrant Integration Program continues this month with the city of St. Louis, Mo., one of the eight sites whose participation in the national pilot program is based on their track record of supporting immigrant professional success.
St. Louis’ work with the project has two focuses:
- Adapt two or three career pathways guides to their areas, with three priority professions being nursing, teaching, and engineering.
- Create a public education campaign (or a public event) to encourage workforce development practitioners and workforce boards to leverage WIOA funds to support skilled immigrants.
“Working with community partners to create comprehensive career pathway guides will help to strengthen the connections between local institutions and our community’s skilled immigrant population,” says Blake S. Hamilton, Vice President of Programs at the International Institute of St. Louis. “The opportunity to collaborate with the program’s technical assistance providers is invaluable to our efforts to create a robust ecosystem that supports skilled immigrants in St. Louis.”
For the city’s focus on creating a public education campaign or public convening, Hamilton says St. Louis’ goal is to create an advocacy message with local influencers and possibly create educational materials to raise awareness on skilled immigrant integration.
“There is recognition in St. Louis that skilled immigrants have a lot to contribute to our workforce and our economy,” says Hamilton. “This project will help us take community stakeholders beyond mere recognition of the potential skilled immigrants in our community possess and advance the conversation to a discussion of what we can do as a region to foster successful outcomes and maximize the contributions of this group.”
The St. Louis team expects its work in the Skilled Immigrant Integration Program will allow their city to achieve its objectives, and also serve as a model of immigrant integration for the rest of the country.
“The technical assistance provided by WES Global Talent Bridge and the other providers on the project is essential in helping us move the issue of skilled immigrant integration into the larger workforce and economic development conversation on our region,” says Hamilton.