Philly launches citywide immigrant workforce initiative

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The City’s office of Workforce Development is partnering with the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians for an 18-month initiative to help with immigrant workforce integration for all sectors of businesses.

According to a press release, the initiative is called “Engaging Immigrant Talent,” which is building upon a strategy to help best prepare Philadelphians for jobs. It is supported by a $242,000 grant from World Education Services (WES) Mariam Assefa Fund.

The 18-month program will call on employers to learn and rely more on immigrant talent in Philly. Employers can register on welcomingcenter.org/eitalent.

“City government has a critical role to play in improving equitable outcomes for all our residents,” Mayor Kenney in a press release. 

Kenney continued, “Increasing opportunities for Philadelphia’s extraordinary and diverse immigrant population is key to realizing the goals outlined in our citywide workforce development and inclusive growth strategies. I greatly appreciate the WES Mariam Assefa Fund for funding this opportunity, and I look forward to driving positive results for our city through this partnership with the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.”

A release states that The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians had a track record of over 16 years focusing on developing workforce programs with a focus on increased access for immigrants and refugees. It has an International Professionals Program, which helps give residents classroom-based training to connect residents to career paths in their field. They also provide experiential training to help residents. 

After they complete the Professionals Program, they can join the Immigrant Fellowship Program. This program is a 12-week, paid, work-based learning opportunity with the city of Philly and some private-sector employers. 

It was reported that 40 percent of fellows in the most recent class were offered full-time roles by Philly. 

The plan for Engaging Immigrant Talent initiative is to expand the impact and evaluate the already existing programs. The City wants to incorporate everything into a citywide strategy, which will help advocate for more inclusivity and retention practices across the city.  

“Workforce equity is an economic imperative. Only through a coordinated effort across multiple sectors and partners can we ensure that all Philadelphians have what they need to thrive,” Nicole Pumphrey, deputy director of Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians said in a press release. 

The ultimate goal is to invest in a system-wide approach to dismantle institutional inequity and increase opportunity. 

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