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Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts at the Cambridge Forum

[caption id="attachment_6407" align="aligncenter" width="569"]Diane Portnoy and panel at the Cambridge Forum Diane Portnoy (right) moderates panel including (left to right) Alex Nowresteh, William Ross and Deborah D. Moore[/caption] On October, 8, 2014, The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. produced a panel discussion with the Cambridge Forum entitled Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts after its book by the same name. The discussion used America's immigration history to bring perspective to today's immigration issues. Panelists included contributors to the book William G. Ross and Deborah D. Moore as well as policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh. Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant GiftsDiane Portnoy, founder and CEO of The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc., moderated the panel. She framed the discussion by saying, "Each wave of immigrants, regardless of their native country, religion, ethnicity or skin color, has experienced what immigrants today are experiencing. Yet, they have gone on to make major contributions to the country... . With a greater understanding of our past, my hope is that we strive for a future with fewer struggles and more gifts." William G. Ross is the Lucille Stewart Beeson professor of law at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law and a contributor to the book. He brought the prospective of one of the largest ethnic groups in America, Germans. Ross explained how Germans today are nearly invisible as an ethnic group but were once a very distinct group that was widely criticized for language, religious and cultural differences in ways that are reminiscent of criticisms leveled at recent waves of immigrant groups. As a law professor, Ross also brought deep knowledge of America's immigration legal history. He noted that until the late 19th century, immigration was largely a state-level issue. When the federal government started enacting immigration restrictions, they were discriminatory measures such as the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and the quota system enacted in the 1920's. That is why Ross equated the 1965 Immigration Act eliminating quotas with the Civil Rights Act in its impact on creating a more just society. Deborah D. Moore, director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and a Frederick G.L. Huetwell professor of history at the University of Michigan, is also a contributor to the book. She used the long history of Jewish immigration to this country as a case study for the American immigrant experience. Moore also illustrated how Jews have impacted social issues such as education and women's rights. To explain the importance of immigrants in today's society she said, "Immigration is integral to shaping our culture. Immigrants continue to bring new ideas and vitality, and they see things natives don’t see." Cambridge Forum PanelThe last panelist, Alex Norwasteh, is the immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. He began by saying that when Ellis Island was a critical entry point for immigrants to the United States it was called the "island of tears" for turning away just two percent of newcomers to this country. In contrast, today's immigration laws are much more restrictive. For example, there is virtually no way for a low-skilled immigrant without family here to get a green card. He pointed out, "If those rules applied many years ago, most of us would not be here today." He went on to describe the many economic benefits of immigration and concluded by saying, "It is rare that you get an economic policy change such as allowing more immigration that would be so beneficial to so many people, Americans and immigrants, with such a small cost to everyone involved." The audio broadcast will be available on NPR stations nationally through the National Public Radio satellite system. Thanks to WGBH Forum Network, the video of the event in its entirety is available on  YouTube:  

Teachers learn tools for ‘immigrant student success’

  [caption id="attachment_6330" align="aligncenter" width="617"]Phitsamay Uy, EdD, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, presents during the free online workshop for educators on July 10, 2014. Phitsamay Uy, EdD, of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, presents during the free online workshop for educators on July 10, 2014.[/caption] As the nation's classrooms get more diverse, teachers must develop informed and creative approaches to bring out the best in their students. On July 9 and 10, 2014, 170 teachers from 30 states registered for a free online workshop hosted by The ILC Public Education Institute. Over two days, they learned from eight education experts about concepts and techniques that could shape their teaching to promote the success of their immigrant students. Immigrant Student Success: Models and Tools for K-12 and Adult Educators, the latest edition of The ILC Public Education Institute's annual workshop for teachers, featured new content and presenters tailored to meet the needs of today's teachers. Modules such as "Student-Centered Learning," presented by Barbara Cervone, EdD, founder and president of What Kids Can Do, Inc., and "Promising Educational Practices for Immigrant Students and All Students," presented by Susan Eaton, PhD, of One Nation Indivisible, were particularly impactful on participants. Click here to view or download workshop materials. Led by Marcia Drew Hohn, EdD, director of The ILC Public Education Institute, the online workshop featured webinars, video lectures and chat rooms as well as shared documents and resources hosted on a workshop website. The highly interactive nature of the workshop allowed participants from around the country to interact and share with each other and with the presenters, which participants found particularly enriching:
"Professional development webinars are important for invested teachers to learn from others in the field. I try to absorb whatever I can as an educator not only to upgrade my skills but also to become a more reflective teacher and to try more creative ways to connect with my adult immigrant learners. Great job! Thank you so much!"

- Roshii Jolly, NY

Click here to learn more about the free online workshop for educators. You can also view teacher resources. The workshop is hosted annually in July. Sign up to be informed when details become available for the next workshop. See blog posts for previous workshops for educators in 2013, 2012 and 2011.  

First Immigrant Heritage Month celebrated in Massachusetts

[caption id="attachment_5874" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Felix G. Arroyo, Chief of Health and Human Services for the City of Boston, address the audience at the Immigrant Heritage Month celebration at the Boston Public Library on Saturday, June 21, 2014. Felix G. Arroyo, Chief of Health and Human Services for the City of Boston, address the audience at the Immigrant Heritage Month celebration at the Boston Public Library on Saturday, June 21, 2014.[/caption]   America owes its economic strength and cultural richness to the diversity of its origins. On Saturday, June 21, 2014, at the Boston Public Library, that diversity was celebrated at an event recognizing the first Immigrant Heritage Month. The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) was pleased to partner with Welcome.us, the city councils of Boston and Cambridge, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition and the Mayor's Office of New Bostonians to plan and host this event. Featuring immigrant entrepreneurs Bettina Hein and Saul Perlera, it highlighted the significant contributions immigrants have made to Massachusetts. [caption id="attachment_5875" align="alignleft" width="216"]Bettina Hein Bettina Hein[/caption] Introduced by Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung, Hein made clear her reasons for coming to the U.S. from Germany; she wanted to spread her wings as an entrepreneur. "I came here because where I come from girls don't do that,” she said. "At my first university admissions interview they asked me why I wanted to study business and I said, 'Well, I want to change the world. I want to do social good.' The interviewer told me, 'Missy, if you want to do that you should become a nurse,' which shows you the picture of females that is still prevalent in that country." Hein would eventually found two companies, one of which is Pixability, Inc. in Boston’s North End. [caption id="attachment_5876" align="alignleft" width="216"]Saul Perlera Saul Perlera[/caption] Echoing Hein's sentiments of America as a land of opportunity, Perlera spoke of his journey from El Salvador to Boston. "When I moved here I worked three jobs, I spoke no English and all I had were the clothes on my body," he said. Over time, however, Perlera was able to learn not only English but also Italian and Portuguese. This skill eventually helped him to start his own firm, Perlera Real Estate, in the diverse East Boston area. "The United States is the only country where my story could be possible," he said. Also speaking at the event were Chief of Health and Human Services for the City of Boston Felix G. Arroyo and Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu. Performers included six-year-old ranchera singer Josue Giron and flutist Tito Lugo. Click here to learn more about Immigrant Heritage Month. View photos of the event on Flickr.

Seven winners honored at The 2014 ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

[caption id="attachment_5810" align="aligncenter" width="601"]Diane Portnoy, ILC founder and CEO, left, and Marcia Drew Hohn, director of The ILC Public Education Institute, stand with 2014 ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year award winners Rosa Tejeda, Nisaury Tejeda, Fitzroy Alexander, Josef von Rickenbach, Victoria Amador and Dr. Fauzia Khan. At right is master of ceremonies Richard A. Davey, Jr., secretary and CEO, MA Department of Transportation, and ILC trustee. Diane Portnoy, ILC founder and CEO, left, and Marcia Drew Hohn, director of The ILC Public Education Institute, stand with The 2014 ILC Immigrant Entrepreneurs of the Year Rosa Tejeda, Nisaury Tejeda, Fitzroy Alexander, Josef von Rickenbach, Victoria Amador and Dr. Fauzia Khan. At right is master of ceremonies Richard A. Davey, Jr., secretary and CEO, MA Department of Transportation, and ILC trustee.[/caption]   Seven winners in four categories were honored with 2014 ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in front of more than 200 guests at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, MA, on May 8. All 35 nominees were outstanding examples of Massachusetts entrepreneurs who, as noted by ILC founder and CEO Diane Portnoy, "revitalize depressed neighborhoods, create new technologies, make life-saving discoveries, create jobs, pay taxes and help form the backbone of this country."
Master of ceremonies Richard A. Davey, Jr., secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and ILC trustee, reinforced those sentiments. "We couldn't be prouder to count you among the residents of Massachusetts," he said, before the nominees were given legislative citations and their achievements recognized in a memorable slideshow. This year’s winners were: Life Science Business: Josef von Rickenbach from Switzerland, chairman and CEO of PAREXEL International Corp. in Waltham High-Tech Business: Dr. Fauzia Khan and Mansoor Khan from Pakistan, founders of Alere Analytics in Lowell Business Growth: Fitzroy Alexander from Grenada, founder and owner of Traditional Breads, Inc. in Lynn Neighborhood Business: Rosa and Nisaury Tejeda and Victoria Amador from the Dominican Republic, founders of Tremendous Maid LLC Find out more about the winners below. Now in its third year, The 2014 ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Awards brought together members of the economic development, community development, banking, media, state government and diplomatic fields to honor the valuable contributions of Massachusetts immigrant entrepreneurs. View photos of the event on our Flickr stream. Do you know outstanding immigrant entrepreneurs in Massachusetts worthy of recognition? Tell us about them.  

Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year, Life Science Business

Josef von Rickenbach from Switzerland, chairman and CEO of PAREXEL International Corp. in Waltham
[caption id="attachment_5801" align="alignleft" width="240"]Click above to watch a video interview with Josef von Rickenbach. Click above to watch a video interview with Josef von Rickenbach.[/caption] Since founding PAREXEL International Corp. in 1982, Josef von Rickenbach has guided PAREXEL through 32 years of technological, market and regulatory changes. By 2014, PAREXEL had helped to develop 95 percent of the 200 top-selling biopharmaceuticals on the market. It has more than 15,100 employees in 50 countries. "It is truly a great honor to receive this award, which represents all of PAREXEL's employees who contribute so much to the biopharmaceutical industry, our clients and to those who benefit most, namely patients," he said.
   

Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year, High-Tech Business

Dr. Fauzia Khan and Mansoor Khan from Pakistan, founders of Alere Analytics in Lowell
[caption id="attachment_5799" align="alignleft" width="240"]Click above to watch a video interview with Dr. Fauzia Khan and Mansoor Khan. Click above to watch a video interview with Dr. Fauzia Khan and Mansoor Khan.[/caption] Husband and wife Dr. Fauzia Khan and Mansoor Khan founded Alere Analytics (formerly DiagnosisONE) in 2003. In 2012, it was purchased by Alere Inc. Mansoor serves as chief executive officer, and Fauzia is the chief medical officer of this medical informatics company.
Alere Analytics provides the health care industry with the world's largest library of evidence-based medical knowledge. Featuring more than 30,000 clinical rules, the platform ensures improved patient care, fewer errors and better clinical outcomes.    

Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year, Business Growth

Fitzroy Alexander from Grenada, founder of Traditional Breads, Inc. in Lynn
[caption id="attachment_5800" align="alignleft" width="240"]Click above to watch a video interview with Fitzroy Alexander. Click above to watch a video interview with Fitzroy Alexander.[/caption] Fitzroy Alexander worked his way from baker to business owner with an emphasis on job creation. His first business, Signature Breads, employed 300 people when he sold it in 1998. The next year, he founded Traditional Breads, Inc., a commercial bakery that experienced 37 percent revenue growth between 2010 and 2013.
For his success, Alexander credits his nearly 180 employees, who come from 20 different countries. He said, "I am who I am because of my partners. They're not my employees. I work for them because without them I am nothing."    

Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year, Neighborhood Business

Rosa and Nisaury Tejeda and Victoria Amador from the Dominican Republic, founders of Tremendous Maid LLC
[caption id="attachment_5798" align="alignleft" width="240"]Click above to watch a video interview with Victoria Amador and Rosa and Nisaury Tejeda. Click above to watch a video interview with Victoria Amador and Rosa and Nisaury Tejeda.[/caption] Rosa Tejeda left the Dominican Republic for the U.S. 20 years ago to find better opportunities for her children. Her daughters, Victoria Amador and Nisaury Tejada, graduated from Cornell University and Boston College, respectively.
In 2010, mother and daughters started Tremendous Maid LLC, which has grown to more than 40 employees and a burgeoning list of clients. It was named the 2013 Best House Cleaners by Boston Magazine and Small Business of the Year by Hyde Jackson Square Main Street.  

Immigrant entrepreneurs discuss their impact on local economy

[caption id="attachment_5760" align="aligncenter" width="614"]Business owners Julia Silverio, left, Rosemary Agbede and Maria Rosa speak during a panel discussion on "The Vital Role of Immigrant Entrepreneurs." Business owners Julia Silverio, left, Rosemary Agbede and Maria Rosa speak during a panel discussion on "The Vital Role of Immigrant Entrepreneurs."[/caption]
  Julia Silverio from the Dominican Republic, owner of Silverio Insurance Agency in Lawrence, MA, believes that small-group discussion is one of the mediums where "the struggles and accomplishments of immigrants can really be brought to light." She was one of three immigrant entrepreneurs who joined The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute to talk about "The Vital Role of Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Massachusetts." On April 5, 2014, The ILC Public Education Institute participated in a Lawrence History Center symposium on "The History of New Immigration into Lawrence, MA, and Similar Communities." The symposium was led by Susan Grabski, the Society's executive director, and Robert Forrant, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Forrant invited The ILC Public Education Institute to participate after discovering its research studies on Massachusetts immigrant entrepreneurship. Held at the historic Everett Mills in Lawrence, the symposium brought together academic, community development and urban planning communities to learn more about immigrants and their economic and cultural impacts. Denzil Mohammed and Chiara Magini of The ILC Public Education Institute led a 75-minute session on "The Vital Role of Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Massachusetts." Following a presentation of research, three entrepreneurs shared their stories with attendees: Silverio; Rosemary Agbede from Nigeria, owner of Unique You Salon in Lowell, MA; and Maria Rosa from the Dominican Republic, owner of Yeska Cakes in Lawrence, MA. Silverio, winner of a 2012 ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur Award, said that immigrant women were more likely to start businesses in the U.S. than in their places of birth. "Women are seen as equal to men in the U.S. and so have similar opportunities to pursue entrepreneurship," she said. (Hear more from Silverio in a video interview.) Talking about how her business helped revitalize her neighborhood, Rosa explained how she converted an empty, run-down space into an attractive storefront that brought new customers to the area. Detailing the challenges of starting a business as an immigrant, Agbede said, "Accessing bank loans was very hard because I didn't know how to build my credit history…but I did not let that deter me. I had a dream and I was determined." To learn more about the positive impact of immigrant entrepreneurs, see The ILC Public Institute's researchvideo interviews and Immigrant Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

Online workshop reaches immigrant-serving professionals in 40 states

[caption id="attachment_5756" align="aligncenter" width="614"]Denzil Mohammed, assistant director at The ILC Public Education Institute, types in questions for panelists during a live online discussion on March 11, 2014. Denzil Mohammed, assistant director at The ILC Public Education Institute, types in questions for panelists during a live online discussion on March 11, 2014.[/caption]
  In winter 2014, professionals from immigrant-serving organizations across the country registered for the free online workshop Talking to America About Immigrants and Immigration hosted by The ILC Public Education Institute. In three sessions over six weeks on February 13 and 26 and March 11, participants interacted with experts to gain new insights and information that could assist them in their work. With 12 presenters in eight cities and 285 participants from 40 states, it was the Institute's largest online workshop to date. The workshop covered new topics relevant to the needs of today’s immigrant-serving organizations. These included "Addressing Tensions Between African Americans and Immigrants" led by new workshop presenters Gerald Lenoir of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and James Jennings of Tufts University. Previous workshop presenters such as Susan Downs-Karkos of Welcoming America and Mary Giovagnoli of the Immigration Policy Center were also on hand to stream their presentations live and take questions from participants. Given recent political discussions on comprehensive immigration reform, bonus modules were built into each session focusing on immigration reform. Among these was an engaging module on “How to Talk to Immigrants About Immigration Reform” led by Cristina Aguilera of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. The workshop was led by The ILC Public Education Institute director Marcia Drew Hohn and assistant director Denzil Mohammed, who both presented, and project coordinator Chiara Magini. To view workshop presentations and for more information, click here. You can also sign up to be notified of the dates for the next free online workshop.    

The Immigrant Influence on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Skating Team

  Immigrants strengthen all aspects of our society. This is most evident when they reach the pinnacle of their vocation. They are Nobel laureates, Fortune 500 founders and Olympiads. Even new Americans who were previously unauthorized have represented the United States and won, such as Leo Manzano who won the silver medal and set a new American record for running in the 1,500-meter race in 2012 and Simon Cho who took home a bronze medal in speedskating for the 5,000-meter relay race in 2010. Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir As Team USA enters the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, first and second generation athletes and foreign-born coaches continue the tradition of contribution. Nowhere is this influence as obvious as the U.S. Skating Team. Simon Shnapir came to the U.S. with his family from Russia as a child. As his mother says, they came because, “We wanted to raise our children in a free country." In Sochi, he will be representing the U.S. in pairs skating with his partner, Marissa Castelli. (Photo of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir courtesy of Jamie Hull.) Marina Zoueva, Mai Shibutani, Alex Shibutani and Oleg Epstein. Marina Zueva was a Russian ice dancer who retired in the late 1970s to become a choreographer. She moved to the United States in 1991 and has worked with many elite skaters. Members of Team USA she has choreographed include Gracie Gold, Polina Edmunds, Meryl Davis and Sharlie White, and Maia and Alex Shibutani. She also coaches Davis and White and the Shibutanis. (Photo of Marina Zoueva, Mai Shibutani, Alex Shibutani and Oleg Epstein courtesy of David W Carmichael.) Maia and Alex Shibutani Zueva’s former partner, Oleg Epstein, is also an immigrant from Russia with an impressive 33-year choreographing and coaching history. He has choreographed Gracie Gold and ice dancers Davis and White and is a coach and choreographer for siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani. The “Shib Sibs,” as the Shibutanis are known, are first generation Americans. Their mother is an immigrant from Japan who met their father when they were studying music at Harvard. (Photo of Maia and Alex Shibutani courtesy of David W Carmichael.)   Ashley Wagner Rafael Arutyunyan was born in Soviet Georgia of Armenian descent and competed as a skater for the USSR early in his career. After emigrating, he coached many successful U.S. skaters including Michelle Kwan. Currently, he is one of Ashley Wagner’s coaches. (Photo of Ashley Wagner  courtesy of David W Carmichael.) Not only is former skater and Russian immigrant Nina Edmonds one of Polina Edmonds’ coaches, she is also her mother. Competing in Sochi Russia will truly be a family affair.     Madison Chock and Evan Bates Igor Shpilband is a former ice dancer for the USSR. In 1964, while on a U.S. skating tour, Shipland and his teammates defected. He got a coaching position in Detroit shortly after and continued skating competitively until he retired in 1986. He is both coach and choreographer for ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates representing the U.S. in the 2014 Olympics. (Photo of Madison Chock and Evan Bates courtesy of Luu.)     [caption id="attachment_6038" align="alignright" width="95"]Sato Yuka Sato Yuka[/caption] Yakuto Sato is the only foreign-born Team USA skating coach without a Russian background. She is a former Japanese figure skater who placed seventh at the 1992 Winter Olympics and fifth at the 1994 Winter Olympics before pursuing a professional skating career with Stars on Ice. She currently works as a coach and choreographer at the Detroit Skating Club, where she coaches Olympic hopeful Jeremy Abbott. Good luck to all the generations of Americans competing for Team USA in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

ILC gets teachers thinking positively about immigrants

[caption id="attachment_5515" align="aligncenter" width="512"]Participants share stories about immigrants in their communities during the workshop "The Changing Face of America: What Educators Need to Know About Immigration, its Impact on Schools and its Benefits to Communities" at the conference Where Integration Meets Innovation on November 9, 2013. Participants share stories about immigrants in their communities during the workshop "The Changing Face of America: What Educators Need to Know About Immigration, its Impact on Schools and its Benefits to Communities" at the conference Where Integration Meets Innovation on November 9, 2013.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_5516" align="alignright" width="201"]Chiara Magini, left, and Denzil Mohammed. Chiara Magini, left, and Denzil Mohammed.[/caption] Denzil Mohammed and Chiara Magini of The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute provided a demographic overview of immigrants in the U.S. and demonstrated the ways in which immigrants are positively impacting their communities at one of 30 workshops at a conference titled Where Integration meets Innovation: Creating, Sustaining and Improving Dynamic & Diverse Public Schools for the 21st Century. The conference was hosted by One Nation Indivisible and held in Hartford, CT. Mohammed and Magini offered the latest data and projections on immigration across the nation as well as its impact on public schools. They also talked about ways in which participants could positively frame the conversation around immigration based on immigrant entrepreneurship, innovation, labor force participation, community development and the values immigrants share with their native-born counterparts. In this way, participants could offer more thoughtful input into the public discourse on immigration. Click here to see the presentation "The Changing Face of America: What Educators Need to Know About Immigration, its Impact on Schools and its Benefits to Communities." Additional information sources for immigrants in Connecticut  Massachusetts and New York can also be viewed.

Third annual Mass. Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month proclaimed

[caption id="attachment_5387" align="aligncenter" width="519"]The Massachusetts Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month proclamation is held up by Josiane Martinez, executive director of the Office for Refugees and Immigrants, right. From left are Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, Rep. Daniel Cullinane, Gov. Deval Patrick, Rep. Tackey Chan and State Senator Eileen Donoghue. The Massachusetts Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month proclamation is held up by Josiane Martinez, executive director of the Office for Refugees and Immigrants, right. From left are Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, Rep. Daniel Cullinane, Gov. Deval Patrick, Rep. Tackey Chan and State Senator Eileen Donoghue.[/caption]   Reaffirming the vitality that foreign-born business owners bring to the economy, Gov. Deval Patrick proclaimed Massachusetts Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. It was the third straight year that the Month was proclaimed to recognize the significant contributions that foreign-born entrepreneurs make to economic growth, innovation and job creation in the Commonwealth. (See the 2012 blog post and a video from the 2011 launch.)

In delivering the proclamation in downtown Boston, Gov. Patrick emphasized the entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants who start businesses and create jobs that fuel the Massachusetts economy.

[caption id="attachment_5388" align="alignright" width="292"]Immigrant entrepreneur Charles Mwangi, founder of Comfort Care Resource Group, left, speaks with Gov. Deval Patrick. Immigrant entrepreneur Charles Mwangi, founder of Comfort Care Resource Group, left, speaks with Gov. Deval Patrick.[/caption]

Three such immigrant business owners were on hand including Charles Mwangi (Kenya) of Comfort Care Resource Group in Malden who was featured in Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Growing Industries: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy, the latest report from The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC). Along with Mwangi (pictured at right), Victoria Amador (Dominican Republic), co-founder of Tremendous Maids in Jamaica Plain, and Suren Masumyan (Armenia), founder of SurriMassini, Inc. in Swampscott, were presented with citations by Gov. Patrick. See videos of other outstanding entrepreneurs in The ILC's Immigrant Entrepreneur Interview Series.

Massachusetts Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month takes place from October 15 to November 15, 2013. It kicks off a series of events into 2014 by The ILC and the New Americans Integration Institute at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition. It culminates in May with the 2014 ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards. (See the 2013 winners here.)

The Massachusetts Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month initiative is led by The ILC, MIRA's New Americans Integration Institute and the Office for Refugees and Immigrants. It recognizes the significant contributions that foreign-born innovators and business owners make to the Commonwealth. In greater Boston alone, immigrants own more than 8,800 small businesses representing $3.7 billion in annual sales and employing 18,500 people, according to data from the Boston Redevelopment Authority. ILC-commissioned research shows that one-third of leisure and hospitality businesses in Massachusetts were founded by immigrants and that immigrant entrepreneurs have founded or co-founded 26 percent of Massachusetts biotech companies and produce $7.6 billion in annual revenue and employ more than 4,000 people.

Click here to visit the Massachusetts Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month 2013 website.

Between South Asia and Japan, intern Flynn Jebb gains new experiences in Malden

The first intern at The ILC Public Education Institute, Flynn Jebb, writes about her experiences over the summer of 2013.     [caption id="attachment_5377" align="alignright" width="378"]Flynn Jebb, center, Summer 2013 intern at The ILC Public Education Institute, with Project Coordinator Chiara Magini, left, and Assistant Director Denzil Mohammed. Flynn Jebb, center, summer 2013 intern at The ILC Public Education Institute, with Project Coordinator Chiara Magini, left, and Assistant Director Denzil Mohammed.[/caption]

It was serendipitous, my internship at The ILC Public Education Institute.

I had just finished my first year of graduate school and had planned to spend the summer in South Asia conducting research for my thesis. Unexpectedly, I found myself in "visa limbo" and was grounded on the East Coast for six weeks longer than planned. Eager to be useful, I was connected with Dr. Marcia Drew Hohn who invited me to spend my time treading water with The ILC Public Education Institute.

How fortunate I was.

Welcomed by The ILC Founder and CEO Diane Portnoy and The ILC's staff, I worked on the fourth floor at The ILC Public Education Institute captained by Marcia and skippered by Denzil Mohammed with Chiara Magini as first mate. I was charged with developing a comprehensive outreach plan for the annual, free online workshop for educators Teaching Immigration Across the Curriculum. Through this workshop, The ILC Public Education Institute equips K-12 and community educators across the country with valuable data, techniques and tools about teaching immigrant students.

The project involved sifting through past participant workshop evaluations, making phone calls to gain perspective from public, private and charter school teachers, and doing a lot of Googling (or, as we say in grad school, "researching"). With some tips from Denzil and Chiara, I was able to develop a detailed strategy for reaching out to teachers across the country to share this free educational opportunity.

In so doing, I learned how teachers get information about professional development opportunities, how they organize themselves and from whom they get credible information. I also learned about immigration trends and about services provided by small, not-for-profit organizations in towns I previously could not have placed on a map.

Most of all, I learned how deeply The ILC staff members care about their constituents, including new Americans. That was among the things I took away from the experience: their passion for their work and the welcoming spirit of The ILC staff, who were so kind during my five weeks at the office.   Flynn Jebb is a student at International Christian University in Tokyo under the auspices of a Rotary Peace Fellowship. She is working on her master's in peace studies after earning a bachelor's in political science and theater at The College of the Holy Cross. Flynn hails from the Adirondacks in New York.   The ILC Public Education Institute welcomes interns and volunteers in research, education, graphic design, marketing and video production to enhance their skills in an exciting field while helping the Institute to further its mission of "Promoting immigrants as assets to America." Contact Chiara Magini at cmagini@ilctr.org

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