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Immigrant entrepreneurs discuss their impact on local economy

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.”

 

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

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.

 

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.)

 

 

Sato Yuka

Sato Yuka

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

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.

 

Chiara Magini, left, and Denzil Mohammed.

Chiara Magini, left, and Denzil Mohammed.

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

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.

 

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.

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.

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.  

 

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.

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

Educator workshop expands to 23 states in 2013

 

Workshop presenters from left (top row) Paul Watanabe, University of Massachusetts Boston; Usha Tummala-Narra, Boston College; Jared Sanchez, University of Southern California; Judy Shreves, Warren County Schools, Missouri; (bottom row) Phitsamay Uy, University of Massachusetts Lowell; Westy Egmont, Boston College; Amaha Kassa, African Communities Together; Lorna Rivera, University of Massachusetts Boston; and Marcia Drew Hohn, The ILC Public Education Institute.

Workshop presenters from left (top row) Paul Watanabe, University of Massachusetts Boston; Usha Tummala-Narra, Boston College; Jared Sanchez, University of Southern California; Judy Shreves, Warren County Schools, Missouri; (bottom row) Phitsamay Uy, University of Massachusetts Lowell; Westy Egmont, Boston College; Amaha Kassa, African Communities Together; Lorna Rivera, University of Massachusetts Boston; and Marcia Drew Hohn, The ILC Public Education Institute.

 

In the latest free online workshop for educators on July 9 to 11, 2013, The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. Public Education Institute expanded into new territory.

Hosted on-site for Massachusetts educators since 2004 and then online for national participation since 2012, “Teaching Immigration Across the Curriculum” informs K-12 and community educators about their immigrant students and equips them with the tools to integrate immigrant students and immigration into their classrooms. It is led by director of the Institute Marcia Drew Hohn with assistance from Denzil Mohammed and Chiara Magini.

Utilizing the successful online education model developed by the Institute in 2012, this year’s workshop reached new audiences with new content and collaborators.

 ”The workshop was a fabulous opportunity to enrich our understanding of immigration issues. It also gave us tools for how to apply our new insights into better practices.”

Participant, “Teaching Immigration Across the Curriculum”

The 80 registered participants hailed from 23 states compared to 14 states last year. This brings to 25 the total number of states reached by the workshop since its online debut.

The 2013 workshop also saw a more ambitious mix of online media to enhance learning and interaction: webinars, recorded panel discussions, live call-in Q&As, interactive Google Docs, chat rooms and an interactive immigration timeline on which participants traced their immigration history.

The workshop included new modules led by new collaborators to address the changing needs of educators. These modules included a discussion on “Issues, Perspectives and Ideas to Build a Framework for Curriculum Adaption” with Westy Egmont of Boston College and new collaborators Judy Shreves of Warren Country Schools, Missouri, and Usha Tummala-Narra of Boston College. Click here to view the workshop resources.

According to one participant, “The workshop was a fabulous opportunity to enrich our understanding of immigration issues. It also gave us tools for how to apply our new insights into better practices.”

The next workshop for educators takes place in July 2014 and workshops for other audiences are in the works. Click here to learn more and sign-up to be informed when details become available.

 

The ILC awards 3 for outstanding immigrant entrepreneurship

Richard A. Davey, Jr., secretary and CEO, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, left; Dr. Marcia Drew Hohn, Director, The ILC Public Education Institute; Dr. Chiang Li, founder, Boston Biomedical, Inc.; Rafael Guzman, president, RM Technologies, Inc.; Mahmud Jafri, founder, Dover Rug & Home; Diane Portnoy, founder, president and CEO, The ILC; and Steven Grossman, Massachusetts Treasurer and Receiver General, at the 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards on May 8 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Cambridge, MA.

Richard A. Davey, Jr., secretary and CEO, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, left; Dr. Marcia Drew Hohn, director, The ILC Public Education Institute; Dr. Chiang Li, founder, Boston Biomedical, Inc.; Rafael Guzman, president, RM Technologies, Inc.; Mahmud Jafri, founder, Dover Rug & Home; Diane Portnoy, founder, president and CEO, The ILC; and Steven Grossman, Massachusetts Treasurer and Receiver General, at the 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards on May 8 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Cambridge, MA.

 

The contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs in Massachusetts were recognized by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) at the 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards on Wednesday, May 8, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Cambridge, MA.  Three winners were selected from a total of 26 nominees in three categories:

Neighborhood business: Mahmud Jafri (Pakistan) of Dover Rug & Home, Natick.

Business growth: Rafael Guzman (Dominican Republic) of RM Technologies, Inc., Lawrence.

Science/technology business: Dr. Chiang Li (China) of Boston Biomedical, Inc., Cambridge.

See profiles and videos below.

The nominees in attendance received citations from their respective legislators, and the three winners received trophies and citations from Massachusetts Treasurer and Receiver General Steven Grossman and Master of Ceremonies Richard A. Davey, Jr., secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and ILC board trustee. All were impressive examples of entrepreneurial spirit.

In welcoming guests, The ILC Founder, President and CEO Diane Portnoy said, “As entrepreneurs, immigrants revitalize depressed neighborhoods, create jobs, pay taxes and help form the backbone of this country… This is not a new story in American history. Since the founding of this country, immigrants have come here with hope, drive and ingenuity and have become entrepreneurs. This evening’s awardees and nominees are part of a long and proud tradition.”

Guest Speaker Steven Grossman shared his personal relationship to immigrant entrepreneurship from his experience leading the company founded by his immigrant grandfather, Grossman Communications, to his interactions with immigrant small business owners participating in the Commonwealth’s Small Business Banking Partnership.

Here’s a glimpse of this year’s 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Award winners.

 

Outstanding Neighborhood Business

Mahmud Jafri, founder of Dover Rug & Home

Country of origin: Pakistan  

ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur Mahmud JafriDover Rug & Home began in Jafri’s house in 1989. He stored the rugs in the garage and used the living room as a showroom. Twenty-three years later, Dover Rug & Home occupies a 36,000-square-foot space on Route 9 in Natick.

Jafri is also committed to community development, which is evident in the school programs, interfaith initiatives and charitable organizations he supports. Born out of his love of the sport, he also built the Dover Squash and Fitness facility for area enthusiasts to play and use as a platform for cross-cultural understanding.

Jafri said, “When I immigrated in 1974, I, like many of you, was apprehensive about what it would be like to start a new chapter of my life in an entirely new country. But I knew that this great nation offered endless opportunities and welcomed people of all races and creeds from every corner of the world with open arms. The acceptance and camaraderie I experienced along the way taught me how fortunate I am to live in a country that offers the resources and guidance to anyone who has the drive and ambition to succeed regardless of where you are from, the color of your skin or what higher power you believe in.”

 

Outstanding Business Growth

Rafael Guzman, founder of RM Technologies, Inc.

Country of origin: Dominican Republic

Rafael GuzmanWhen Guzman bought RM Technologies, Inc. in 1997, the small demolition and environmental remediation firm had only three office staff and was making $800,000 a year. He turned it into an expanded business employing more than 200 people with 45 percent revenue growth over the last three years.

In his remarks, Guzman stressed the importance of education. He has a master’s in manufacturing engineering, and he thanked the American people for the assistance he received to make this education possible. He framed his company’s explosive growth as a way of giving back saying, “My company last year paid over $3 million in salaries and wages to 172 employees. I’m happy to report that this year we project to pay over $5 million to over 250 people, mostly immigrants from the city of Lawrence, the poorest city in the Commonwealth. The American dream is alive and kicking very much. It’s here for most of us to reach in this great nation.”

In addition to job creation, Guzman gives back to his community by sponsoring Lawrence film festivals, book fairs and baseball teams, and he established a scholarship for underprivileged children like himself who want to study engineering.

 

Outstanding Science/Technology Business

Dr. Chiang Li, founder of Boston Biomedical, Inc.

Country of origin: China

Chiang LiLi is a prolific inventor, successful businessman and doctor committed to helping others. He has pioneered research into treatments of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. He has founded five companies and is the named inventor on 230 patents.

In 2006, when 30 scientists working under him were about to be laid off, Li resigned, started a new company and re-hired all 30 scientists. That company was Boston Biomedical, Inc. The company has developed an innovative clinical-stage product pipeline that targets cancer stem cells. It was acquired in 2012 for up to $2.63 billion. Li serves as president, CEO and chief medical officer.

Li shared his success with many others including the Massachusetts’ business environment. “Here, in Massachusetts I think we have all three elements [talent, capital and a supportive political system]. That’s why there is no better place on Earth, I feel, to grow science/technology/innovation business than here in Massachusetts… There is an unparalleled [supply of] science/technology [talent]. A large percentage is immigrants. The combination is so powerful. There is no country in the world that is even close to a country like America to grow innovative business.”

For more videos, see our Immigrant Entrepreneur Interview Series.

 

Treasurer Grossman adds to the excitement at the 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

Grossman HeadshotThe Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. is honored to have Massachusetts Treasurer and Receiver General, Steven Grossman, as the guest speaker at the 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards on May 8, 2013.

The treasurer is not only a dedicated public servant, he is an experienced businessperson with first-hand knowledge of the positive impact of immigrant entrepreneurs. Prior to being elected in 2010, Grossman spent 35 years creating jobs, managing money, dealing with crises and finding commonsense solutions to problems as the CEO of Grossman Marketing Group in Somerville. The company was founded in 1910 by his grandfather who came to the U.S. from the Russian-Romanian border to escape persecution.

During his time as treasurer, Grossman’s passionate support for immigrant entrepreneurship has only increased. He uses the full potential of the Treasurer’s office to protect the public’s money, help create jobs and boost small businesses. In doing so, he has had the opportunity to see first hand the economic and social benefits that immigrant small business owners are bringing to the commonwealth. His comments will be a wonderful addition to an inspiring evening.

New online workshop provides tools to serve immigrant communities

 

Workshop presenters left to right are (top) Manuel Pastor and Rhonda Ortiz, University of Southern California; Westy Egmont, Boston College; (middle) Susan Downs-Karkos, Welcoming America; Amaha Kassa, African Communities Together; Julie Rowe, The Opportunity Agenda; (bottom) Mary Giovagnoli, Immigration Policy Center; Reshma Shamasunder, California Immigrant Policy Center; and Marcia Drew Hohn, The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

Workshop presenters left to right are (top) Manuel Pastor and Rhonda Ortiz, University of Southern California; Westy Egmont, Boston College; (middle) Susan Downs-Karkos, Welcoming America; Amaha Kassa, African Communities Together; Julie Rowe, The Opportunity Agenda; (bottom) Mary Giovagnoli, Immigration Policy Center; Reshma Shamasunder, California Immigrant Policy Center; and Marcia Drew Hohn, The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

 

Registering 108 participants from 31 states was a significant feat for the first-time, free online workshop for immigrant-serving organizations “Talking to America About Immigrants and Immigration.”

Hosted by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute on April 3 and 4, 2013, the workshop proved to be the most popular – and the most ambitious – in the Institute’s 10-year history. The overwhelming level of participation revealed a significant need for useful immigration information from credible sources.

Building on last year’s online pilot of the workshop for educators, “Teaching Immigration Across the Curriculum,” and given the heightened political activity around comprehensive immigration reform, director of the Institute Marcia Drew Hohn opted to start a workshop for immigrant-serving organizations.

“Talking to America About Immigrants and Immigration” brought together a diverse cross-section of presenters from nationally recognized organizations such as Welcoming America, the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California.

Utilizing interactive communication technologies such as webinars and online panel discussions, the Institute crafted modules that included “Positioning Immigrants as Assets” and “New Messaging Strategies.” (Click here for resources.) In so doing, the workshop offered tools and techniques that immigrant-serving organizations can use to advance their missions and serve their communities. According to one participant, “All modules were helpful and I hope that we will see more of this type of workshop in the future. The presenters were excellent. They were great resources.”

The ILC Public Education Institute is already working on new content for the next workshop, which is scheduled for early 2014. Sign up here to be the first to know when registration opens.

 

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