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Health care and integration experts give insight on new report

 

Clockwise from top left: Denzil Mohammed, Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, Kira Khazatsky (not pictured) and Joyce Sackey, MD.

 

 

Compiling available research and profiles of 11 immigrants representing the full scope of the U.S. health care industry, the upcoming report Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy through Care and Innovation interweaves data and testimonials to offer a comprehensive picture of the outsized impact immigrants have on the health of all Americans. To debut this report and offer an interactive platform for experts and practitioners, The ILC Public Education Institute hosted a free webinar, Immigrants in Health Care, on January 28, 2016.

This upcoming report is authored by Marcia Drew Hohn, EdD, retired director of The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute, and published by the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between The ILC and George Mason University.

Click here for a sneak peek of the report.

Participants from 36 states posed important questions to the five speakers and collaboratively proposed tangible solutions to issues of credentialing, workforce integration, employer engagement and more.

 

Could we have more please? And thank you, thank you for your invaluable contribution to the broad perspective.
Webinar participant

 

Dr. Hohn summarized key report findings and introduced two immigrant health care professionals, Elizabeth Mande from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nam Tran from Vietnam, who told their stories to attendees (See videos of Elizabeth and Nam). This was followed by a reaction panel moderated by Denzil Mohammed, director of The ILC Public Education Institute. The panel included Amanda Bergson-Shilcock of the National Skills Coalition, José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, of the Welcome Back Initiative, Joyce Sackey, MD, of Tufts University School of Medicine, and Kira Khazatsky of Jewish Vocational Services of Greater Boston.

Some of the takeaways included:

  • Immigrants play critical roles in both the high- and low-skilled areas of health care by filling vacancies in under-served areas and contributing the linguistic and cultural competence necessary to cater to an increasingly diverse population.
  • Trusted organizations giving sound guidance are needed to integrate foreign-educated medical professionals into U.S. health care. Such organizations include the Welcome Back Initiative and IMPRINT.
  • Re-licensing and re-credentialing are major hurdles but are not the only on-ramp to workforce integration. There is a huge spectrum of health professions in the United States in fields such as health administration, public health, research or academia.

Click here to learn more about the webinar and view important tools and resources for integrating immigrant health professionals.

Institute for Immigration Research presents at National Immigrant Integration Conference

 

Attendees interact before the first plenary session on December 13, 2015.

Attendees interact before the first plenary session on December 13, 2015.

 

More than 1,300 policymakers, community organizers, academics and others in the immigrant-serving field attended the 2015 National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC) from December 13 to 15, 2015, in New York City. This NIIC was the largest to date, and it engaged attendees from across the country in thought-provoking sessions and productive discussions across 11 tracks including Welcoming Communities, Academic Perspectives, and Adult Education and Workforce Development. Notable speakers included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez. Three presidential candidates, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Governor Martin O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders, were also invited to share their thoughts and policy positions regarding immigration. A common theme among speakers was addressing recent spikes in anti-immigrant rhetoric while providing hope for comprehensive immigration reform.

President of the Migration Policy Institute Michael Fix introduces a special session on Fixing Brain Waste hosted by IMPRINT and WES.

President of the Migration Policy Institute Michael Fix introduces a special session on “Fixing Brain Waste” hosted by IMPRINT.

The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute Director Denzil Mohammed and Assistant Director Crystal Ye participated in the conference and attended a variety of sessions such as “How Can Academic Researchers and Community Activists and Advocates Best Work Together,” “Beyond the Single Story: How New Waves of Asian and African Migration are Transforming Receiving Communities,” and “Fixing Brain Waste,” a special session that featured Dr. James Witte, research director at the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between The ILC and George Mason University. The session highlighted findings from Steps to Success: Integrating Immigrant Professionals in the United States, the survey for which was conducted by Dr. Witte and his research team.

The ILC Public Education Institute Director Denzil Mohammed and Assistant Director Crystal Ye met with Christine Sauvé from Welcoming Michigan.

The ILC Public Education team met with Christine Sauvé from Welcoming Michigan.

The 2016 NIIC will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, and will be hosted by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

 

 
 
 

Commerce leaders, entrepreneurs and academics convene over immigrant entrepreneurship

 

Denzil Mohammed, director of The ILC Public Education Institute, presents data on immigrant entrepreneurs in Massachusetts.

Denzil Mohammed, director of The ILC Public Education Institute, presents data on immigrant entrepreneurs in Massachusetts.

 

Leaders from the business, government and non-profit sectors gathered at Bunker Hill Community College on November 13, 2015, for the biennial “Engaging Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners Forum,” which was co-sponsored by Powerful Pathways Consulting. Keynote speaker Nam Pham, Massachusetts Assistant Secretary of Business Development, emphasized the power of fostering the immigrant entrepreneurial spirit. “It doesn’t matter what kind of business we engage in,” he said. “We can always improve the community.”

In two panels and subsequent breakout discussion groups, attendees learned about best practices, emerging policies and current data on supporting immigrant small business owners and engaging the communities where they reside. Presenters represented a range of organizations giving participants real strategies from experts in enterprise development, business growth, legal assistance, access to capital and more.

Alvaro Lima presents the latest research on successful enterprise development.

Alvaro Lima presents the latest research on successful enterprise development.

 

Speakers included:

  • Alvaro Lima, Director of Research, Boston Redevelopment Authority
  • Alberto Calvo, President of Stop and Compare Supermarkets, and Chair of Social Capital Inc.
  • Alexa Marin, Economic Justice Fellow, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice
  • Norman Eng, Economic Development Specialist and Public Information Officer, Small Business Administration
  • Karleen Porcena, Program Officer, Boston Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • Cisnell Baez, Program Manager, Family Independence Initiative
  • José Luis Rojas Villareal, Community Group Manager, Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation
  • Denzil Mohammed, Director of The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute

 

Salem community engages in discussion on immigrant integration

“When we are strong, we are immigrant strong.”

Dr. Westy Egmont, Immigrant Integration Lab at Boston College

 

Participants identify when and why they or their family arrived in the United States on the Public Education Institute timeline.

Participants position themselves on The ILC Public Education Institute’s interactive immigration timeline on November 12, 2015.

 

Salem, MA, community members joined in a roundtable discussion on immigrant integration entitled “Where Do We Go from Here?” as part of The House of the Seven Gables’ immigration community conversation series on November 12, 2015. Denzil Mohammed, director of The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute, and Dr. Westy Egmont of the Immigrant Integration Lab at Boston College facilitated the discussion on helping the foreign-born become new Americans.

Dr. Egmont began with strategic reasons for immigrant integration initiatives citing the number of immigrants and children of immigrants in the United States: one out of five children in a public school is foreign-born, while one out of four has an immigrant parent. He emphasized humanity, compassion and the power of engagement in America as the main reasons for immigrant integration initiatives.

Mohammed offered insight on different areas of civic engagement for immigrant support including school mentoring, worshiping communities, English for Speakers of Other Languages classes, refugee settlement and vocational training. He also mentioned immigrants’ inherent entrepreneurial spirit and other values they share with native-born Americans.

Given the starting question “How do we build an America that’s welcoming to immigrants?” attendees took the reins of the conversation for the remainder of the discussion. The spirited dialogue covered diverse topics such as voting rights, community gatherings, the risks of stereotypes and increasing immigrants’ social capital. The residents also discussed reframing views of immigration from a deficit to an asset perspective by asking what do immigrants have to offer?

This was the second immigration community conversation in Salem led by The ILC Public Education Institute. In June, Mohammed presented data and stories on “Immigrants as Assets.”

New report reveals what enables immigrant professionals’ success

 

Clockwise from top left Sunny Schwartz, Alejandra St. Guillen, Eva Millona, Dr. James Witte, Paul Feltman, Sylvia Rusin, Stacey K. Simon, Denzil Mohammed, Celina Barrios-Millner and Jeff Gross.

Clockwise from top left Sunny Schwartz, Alejandra St. Guillen, Eva Millona, Dr. James Witte, Paul Feltman, Sylvia Rusin, Stacey K. Simon, Denzil Mohammed, Celina Barrios-Millner and Jeff Gross.

 

Supportive social networks as well as English language skills are crucial factors in the economic prosperity of college-educated immigrants. These were some of the takeaways from the Boston launch of the report Steps to Success: Integrating Immigrant Professionals in the United States on November 5, 2015, at the Asian American Civic Association in Boston’s Chinatown. The report was published by IMPRINT. The findings of the report were presented by co-author Dr. James Witte, research director at the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) and George Mason University.

Denzil Mohammed moderates a panel of speakers from diverse sectors:  (from right) Christine T. Brenner, PhD, Alvaro Lima, Joyce Sackey, MD, and Sunny Schwartz.

Denzil Mohammed, director of The ILC Public Education Institute, moderates a panel of speakers including (from left) Christine T. Brenner, PhD; Alvaro Lima; Joyce Sackey, MD; and Sunny Schwartz.

The report launch featured a panel discussion moderated by director of The ILC Public Education Institute Denzil Mohammed, a testimonial from Iraqi immigrant Rasha Noori, MD ARDMS, and remarks from both Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston John Barros and Massachusetts Undersecretary for Workforce Development Ronald G. Marlow. Through spirited discussion, immigrant professionals in attendance sought tangible solutions to the barriers they faced in a host of industries. Other attendees acquired new knowledge to further their work in serving immigrants in the Greater Boston area.

Thousands of immigrant professionals were surveyed in Boston and around the country. The survey found that respondents’ social capital (number of supportive family and friends in the U.S.) and proficiency in English were both highly correlated factors of their economic success, which was measured by annual salary (“earnings success”), use of higher education (“skills success”) and employment in a managerial or professional occupation (“professional success”). Additional findings include:

  • Living in the U.S. for six years or more was strongly correlated with higher incomes, lower rates of unemployment, higher rates of volunteering and better English skills.
  • In Massachusetts, high-skilled workers who are reported to have limited English proficiency and foreign degrees have the highest unemployment rate among college-educated immigrants (8.8 percent).
  • Boston-area respondents were 1.3 times more likely to have applied for U.S. professional licensure compared to respondents from all other areas.

The report also included recommendations for policymakers, service providers and funders.

This report launch was made possible by a collaborative effort among The ILC Public Education Institute, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy CoalitionMayor’s Office of New BostoniansWES Global Talent Bridge, IMPRINT and the Asian American Civic Association.

Malden’s immigrant entrepreneurs tell their stories

 

Story Tour participants learn about local immigrant entrepreneurs at The ILC.

Story Tour participants learn about local immigrant entrepreneurs at the ILC.

All photography credits to Marilyn Humphries.

 

“I love being a business owner in Malden. It’s a great community and a great place to do business.”

Shane Smyth, owner of Hugh O’Neill’s Restaurant & Pub

 

Local immigrant entrepreneur Raghbir Singh Grover in his business, Edson Fashion.

Local immigrant entrepreneur Raghbir Singh Grover in his business, Edson Fashions.

Sixty attendees from across the commonwealth came to Malden for a walking tour of the city’s thriving immigrant-owned businesses on Thursday, August 27, 2015. Immigrant Entrepreneurs Revitalizing Malden: A Story Tour was organized by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in collaboration with the City of Malden and The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) to highlight the personal stories and economic contributions of the city’s many immigrant entrepreneurs.

Elected officials, municipal employees, bankers, not-for-profit directors and economic development personnel gathered at Malden City Hall where they were welcomed by Mayor Gary Christenson, who said, “The thing that really makes me proud to be the mayor of this great city is the rich diversity that exists in Malden.”

Mayor Christenson was followed by Director of The ILC Public Education Institute Denzil Mohammed, who emphasized the entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants whose businesses help to stabilize and grow local economies.

Attendees, including Rep. Paul Brodeur, State Senator Jason Lewis and Rep. Steven Ultrino, then toured the city’s immigrant-owned businesses and heard first-hand immigrant stories of determination, ambition and success.

Participants reunited after the tour at the ILC’s office, where they where welcomed by Founder and CEO Diane Portnoy, who gave an overview of the organization’s history and mission. In small groups, attendees discussed Malden’s economic immigrant integration model and the value of immigrant small businesses as part of local economic development strategies.

National experts share lessons in community cohesion and immigrant integration

 

“There was a lot of helpful information and perspectives there that will inform our work going forward. There need to be more and more conversations like this one.”

 

 

Rhonda Ortiz (upper left) moderates a panel discussion with, clockwise from Rhonda, Vanessa Carter, Amaha Kassa, Denzil Mohammed and Christine Sauv.

Clockwise from top left, Rhonda Ortiz moderates a panel discussion with Vanessa Carter, Amaha Kassa, Denzil Mohammed and Christine Sauvé.

 

Tensions between immigrant and African American communities are often noted but not always discussed resulting in divided communities that fail to prosper. Seeking to bring to the table real solutions to address this problem, the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) hosted a free webinar, Building United Communities of Immigrants and African Americans, on October 8, 2015. Attendees from 36 states learned a variety of models and tools from six experts from across the nation.

Facilitated by Director Denzil Mohammed, Assistant Director Crystal Ye and Program Assistant Cho Salma Win, the webinar examined theories, perspectives and on-the-ground methods applicable to the attendees’ work on immigrant integration, economic development and human relations. Denzil opened with an overview of current data and research on immigrants in Changing Face of America: Portrait of the Foreign-born in the U.S. Then followed an engaging discussion on Replicable Models and Tools to Build Integrated Communities, where panelists gave practical approaches to forming relationships and building coalitions in the different communities they served. Rhonda Ortiz, Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, USC, moderated the panelists: Amaha Kassa, African Communities Together, Christine Sauvé, Welcoming Michigan, and Vanessa Carter, Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, USC. Julie Fisher-Rowe, The Opportunity Agenda, led the final module, Communication Strategies to Create Allies and Spread Your Message, presenting concrete messaging strategies that resonated with participants.

 

Focal points from the webinar:

  • The immigration narrative needs to change based on the data, which shows immigrants as contributors to a more thriving economy for all residents.
  • In communicating about immigrants facts alone can cause friction, but focusing on shared experiences and shared values between native- and foreign-born Americans can lead to productive conversations.
  • Identify the overlapping issues that affect both immigrants and African Americans rather than focusing on the differences.
  • Community leaders are invaluable resources, and establishing relationships with them is an integral way to bridge understanding and build coalitions.

 

Click here to learn more and view recordings from Building United Communities of Immigrants and African Americans.

The ILC Public Education Institute will continue to host free webinars on unique topics such as this. To be notified of the dates of the next free webinar, sign up here.

Questions? Contact Cho Salma Win at csalmawin@ilctr.org.

Hero to the Voiceless

Ali Noorani and Diane Portnoy

Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, and Diane Portnoy.

Diane Portnoy was recognized for her decades of dedication to giving immigrants a voice at the 2015 Keepers of the Dream Awards in Washington, DC, on October 14, 2015.

Keepers of the American Dream are identified by the National Immigration Forum as heroes who embody the spirit of immigrant achievement, contribute significantly to the well-being of immigrants in the United States and are advocates in every sense of the word for the value of immigrants and immigration to the nation. As the founder and CEO of The Immigrant Learning Center, Diane is one of these heroes.

In accepting the award, Diane said, “The United States was built by immigrants. They have always made this country special with their hard work, energy and creativity, and everyone who helps immigrants succeed helps this country succeed.”

Congratulations Diane! You certainly are a hero to the thousands of immigrants and refugees who have built better lives with the help of The Immigrant Learning Center.

Educators learn to value immigrant students

Clockwise from top left: Susan Rojas, The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.; Eileen Kugler, Embrace Diverse Schools; Claire Tesh, American Immigration Council; Denzil Mohammed, The ILC Public Education Institute; and Silja Kallenbach, World Education, Inc.

Clockwise from top left: Susan Rojas, The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.; Eileen Kugler, Embrace Diverse Schools; Claire Tesh, American Immigration Council; Denzil Mohammed, The ILC Public Education Institute; and Silja Kallenbach, World Education, Inc.

“It is an amazing resource center, a generator of great ideas, a great sharing tool for educators. Great job and well done!” – Participant

 

Between 2010 and 2030, immigrants and their children will account for 85 percent of net workforce growth, and by 2050 one in three children under the age of 18 will be either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. Data and trends on the changing face of America and its evolving classrooms highlight the vital role that K-12 and adult educators play in shaping the future of this country. For this reason, The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute hosts an annual, free, online workshop, Immigrant Student Success: Models and Tools for K-12 and Adult Educators, for teachers to capitalize on the assets their immigrant students bring to the classroom.

This year’s online workshop was held on July 8 and 9, 2015, and featured 10 experts from across the U.S. discussing the value of immigrant students and offering models and techniques for encouraging immigrant student success for the benefit of the entire classroom. Participants from 29 states actively engaged in the conversation, interacting with the presenters and sharing ideas and resources with their fellow teachers from across the country. According to one participant, “This was excellently organized and moderated. I enjoyed the expertise of all presenters and the ability to share ideas with other attendees. I will definitely refer colleagues to future workshops.”

Led by Director of The ILC Public Education Institute Denzil Mohammed, with support from Assistant Director Chiara Magini and Program Assistant Cho Salma Win, the workshop offered six modules and a panel discussion over two days.

Main takeaways from the online workshop include:

  • Maintain an asset-based perspective of immigrant students that values and builds on the strengths that all students bring with them.
  • There is a need to go beyond the classroom in order to contextualize our immigrant students’ experiences as part of families, cultures and communities.
  • Engage with immigrant students as a part of that bigger picture in order to help enrich the classroom community.
  • The teacher has a key role as facilitator of an inclusive learning experience for all students and facilitator of community-building within and outside of the classroom.

Mohammed opened the first day outlining data and projections on immigrant demographics in America’s Evolving Communities and Classrooms. Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College offered a compelling psychological perspective of immigrant students in Immigrant Identity: Mind and Motivations of Foreign-Born Students, before a self-reflection activity aimed at Developing an Asset-Based Perspective on Immigrant Students, led by Magini. Finally, a discussion on Models that Value Classroom Diversity featured a variety of presenters who shared models and practices to support and value immigrant students in and out of the classroom. Moderated by Silja Kallenbach (World Education, Inc.), panelists included Eileen Kugler (Embrace Diverse Schools), Claire Tesh (Community Education Center at the American Immigration Council) and Susan Rojas (The ILC).

The second day was opened by Sarah Lynn of Pearson ELT with a lecture on Key Elements for Immigrant Student Success, which was followed by two hands-on modules on classroom activities to enhance immigrant student success while providing benefits for the whole classroom. Sara Burnett of the Community Education Center at the American Immigration Council led the first module on Crossing Borders with Digital Storytelling while Katie Li of Charlestown High School engaged participants in lesson planning activities for Teaching Language and Content through Projects.

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.

Valuing immigrant contributions in Salem, MA

Salem community members position themselves on a U.S. Immigration Timeline at The House of the Seven Gables on June 24, 2015.

Salem community members position themselves on a U.S. Immigration Timeline at The House of the Seven Gables on June 24, 2015.

The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute took the message that “Immigrants are Assets” to Salem, MA, on June 24, 2015. Director Denzil Mohammed and Assistant Director Chiara Magini led the presentation that was the fourth in a series of Immigration Community Conversations hosted by The House of the Seven Gables, a historical site that inspired a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel of the same name.

They started the discussion with a reflection on immigration as a recurrent theme and integral feature of U.S. history. Showing the latest data on immigrant demographics, labor, education and entrepreneurship at the national, state and local levels, the Institute’s team laid the basis for an asset-focused perspective on immigration. Research findings were complemented by immigrant entrepreneurs’ stories, which demonstrated shared values and mutual benefits, and helped positively frame the conversation on immigration. “We want you to walk away with an understanding that immigrants come with the intention of being contributing members of their communities and the data support this,” Mohammed told attendees. “With that understanding, we can have a more balanced conversation on immigration.” Attendees actively participated with questions and comments, sharing valuable insights on the dialogue on immigration in their communities.

Immigration Community Conversations at The House of the Seven Gables continue until October 8, 2015. Click here to learn more.

The Immigrant Learning Center, 442 Main Street, Malden, Massachusetts, 02148     (781) 322-9777

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