In recent years, more and more businesses have realized how important refugees and immigrants are to the success of their company. As immigration issues become more complicated, many companies and their employees are seeking ways to partner with organizations that welcome and support new Americans.
Founded in 1918, the International Institute of New England (IINE) is one of the oldest and largest social service organizations for immigrants and refugees in the region. Each year, we serve 2,000 refugee, asylee, and immigrant clients in Boston and Lowell, Massachusetts, and Manchester, New Hampshire.
IINE’s mission is to create opportunities for refugees and immigrants to succeed through resettlement, education, career advancement and pathways to citizenship. We serve individuals and families who have come to the United States for a chance to create a new life after losing their homelands to war, targeted violence, and persecution. IINE is the ideal partner for individuals, corporations, foundations and faith groups that want to build a more inclusive, diverse and understanding community.
Here are some ways that corporations can support IINE and have an impact on New England’s refugees and immigrants.
Many companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire make generous financial contributions to IINE’s programs, which is the most direct way to have an impact. The programs include:
- Refugee Welcome and Stabilization Services
Corporate gifts help newly arrived families and individuals during their first few months in the U.S. as they transition from chaotic insecurity to a supportive, healthy new beginning. With your gifts, we help refugees find a home and a job. We register refugee children for school, we reunite migrant children with their family members in New England, we help families navigate the healthcare system and secure benefits, teach them English, and we introduce newcomers to the culture and opportunities in their new communities.
- Immigrant Education and Workforce Preparation
In 2019, IINE expects nearly 1,500 people to enroll in our education, workforce preparation, and career services programs. By supporting IINE, companies ensure that immigrants and refugees with limited resources have access to these life-altering opportunities. In IINE classrooms, our clients gain the language and work skills they need to find better jobs and to contribute to New England’s economy.
- Legal Services and a Pathway to Citizenship
IINE provides trustworthy and affordable legal assistance to immigrants as they navigate an increasingly complicated immigration system. Our experienced legal professionals help people apply for Green Cards reunite with family members, access work authorization documents and become citizens. We are able to charge much less for these services than private attorneys because of the support of individuals and companies who want new Americans to receive quality and affordable legal services.
Customized Program Support
Many companies want to delve more deeply into our programs. We can create a customized way for your firm to support any one of our programs. Some life sciences and healthcare companies, for example, are eager to contribute to the healthcare navigation work our caseworkers to do with newly arrived families. Others want to restrict their support to English or skills training classes. We can provide a detailed proposal and follow-up with a report and data on the impact of a corporate gift.
Each year companies across the region organize employee drives to collect gift cards, MBTA-passes, shoes, clothing and other necessities to help refugees and immigrants in our programs. These gifts help our clients meet their living expenses at vulnerable moments in their lives. Our staff works with companies to organize these campaigns.
Branding & Corporate Visibility
IINE holds two signature events each year – the Golden Door Award, which honors a foreign-born American who has had a profound impact on the region and the country, and International Women’s Day, a festive celebration that takes place each March. We have smaller events throughout the year as well, including Suitcase Stories® shows. The events give corporate partners an opportunity to introduce their employees to IINE’s work, highlight their public support for refugees and immigrants, and increase their visibility in the community.
Employer / Employee Development
Training immigrants for your company
IINE can provide customized programs to train your current and potential employees. Our instructors have years of experience teaching English to new Americans and preparing people for jobs in the healthcare and hospitality industry. IINE programs train Certified Nursing Assistants, prepare people for jobs in hotels and hospitals in the region, and deliver customized programs to help workers improve their English so they can advance at their place of work. We are happy to speak with your Human Resources team about how we can train your workforce to succeed, while helping you retain more quality people, and reduce your recruiting costs.
Placing talent at companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire
New England’s employers are facing the most acute labor shortage in more than 50 years. IINE staff has more connections in the immigrant community than any other organization in the region. We place workers in hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and other fast growing industries. Our employment case specialists meet with employers to learn about their staffing needs, ascertain the skills and suitability of our clients for various work environments, and place people in jobs that lead to fulfilling careers. We work hard to build deep relationships with employer partners, and we look forward to meeting with your recruiting team to learn how we can help your company hire great talent.
Legal Services for your employees
Most companies hire attorneys or provide in-house services for H1B and other visas for foreign-born people who come to work for them. Many employees, however, have family immigration needs. IINE offers low-cost, high quality services that many of your employees desperately need. We help people with marriage and fiancé green cards, assist with citizenship applications, and help people seeking to bring other members of their families to the United States. By establishing a formal program to refer your employees to IINE’s legal services program, you help them obtain affordable services, and you partner with a non-profit organization that is providing a broad range of programming to immigrants and refugees.
Building a diverse and inclusive workforce at your company: Suitcase Stories®
Suitcase Stories® is a live storytelling program that empowers immigrants and refugees by giving them a platform to publicly share their stories with other members of the community. IINE organizes large mainstage shows each year as well as storytelling workshops, community showcase events, school presentations and a new podcast. For corporations, we help companies build a more understanding workplace. Our staff will train people in your company to share their immigrant story – whether they are born outside of the United States, a first generation American or someone in a relationship with a person born elsewhere. We can organize shows at your company during the workday, at lunch, after work, or at a special offsite event. The experience of working with our team, learning the skill of storytelling, and sharing a unique personal story with colleagues builds a better and stronger workplace.
Our trained staff works with companies to facilitate opportunities for employees to volunteer in our English classes, coach immigrants for job interviews, and other critical activities. We’re happy to work with you to develop an engagement program that works for your firm.
For more information about these opportunities, please contact George Earley (firstname.lastname@example.org)