IMPRINT: Immigrant Professional Integration

Communities Taking Action to Affect Policy Change

Members of WES Global Talent Bridge’s 2018 Skilled Immigrant Integration Program at the program convening in Toronto in June 2018.

WES Global Talent Bridge’s Skilled Immigrant Integration Program has had a major impact in states and localities around the country since its launch in 2018. The program has not only improved service delivery, it is helping to change policy.

This is by design. In addition to setting programmatic outcomes, cohort members are encouraged to develop strategies to address state and local policy. The program has also organically built relationships among diverse stakeholders including educators, government officials, service providers and stakeholders from the private sector, which has allowed for information-sharing on models of practice and the development of shared resources. And, participants say their engagement in a national network has helped to raise the profile of their work locally.

The program has already yielded impressive results. In Ohio, cohort members had a major victory last year when Governor Kasich signed an executive order creating an Office of Opportunities for New Americans. Advocates cited their participation in the program as a factor contributing to their success.

When asked how the state of Michigan benefitted from participating in the program, Karen Phillippi, the director of the Michigan Office for New Americans and an inaugural cohort member, said that because they had access to a network of experts, the state was able to develop more tailored resources. Karen also emphasized that the program helped them hone their goals to ensure their initiatives would have the greatest impact.

In Denver, alumni cohort member, Emily Griffith Technical College, has been engaging with the state’s professional regulatory body in an effort to streamline licensing processes. Tiffany Jaramillo, a pathway navigator at the college, said one of the benefits of the program was that it enabled them to engage with and learn from other states doing similar work.

These advocacy efforts are happening alongside the ongoing work of IMPRINT, a national advocacy network within WES. IMPRINT’s mission is to support national, state, and local efforts to successfully integrate skilled immigrants into the U.S. economy. All but one of the technical service providers for the Skilled Immigrant Integration Program are IMPRINT steering committee members, underscoring the critical importance these groups place on advocating for changes in policy.

WES Global Talent Bridge’s program partners have made important strides in helping trained newcomers rejoin their professions in the U.S. As the program embarks on its second year, cohort members are certain to make a lasting impact in their local communities as they work in partnership to ensure trained immigrants and refugees are given a chance to pursue their professional and educational goals in the U.S.

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