Meet Ana Jiménez: Architect, Immigrant from Colombia, International Professionals Program Graduate

Ana Jiménez started a new job as the Exhibition Job Coordinator with The Clay Studio in April of 2020. While this began her career in the United States, her journey started many years prior.

Ana grew up in Colombia with her family and was formally trained as an architect there before moving to the Netherlands to earn her master’s degree in media and design. After graduating, she moved back to Columbia, began work in her field, and started a family.

She had never thought about moving to the United States, but that changed in 2017 when Ana’s husband was admitted to a PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania. In the first years she lived in Philadelphia, she spent her days caring for her 2-year old son, visiting the nearby park, and meeting and connecting with new friends. As Ana’s son grew older and began daycare, she felt the desire to return to her career.

While researching she quickly found and applied to the The Welcoming Center’s International Professionals Program (IPP), which is designed to help foreign-trained individuals secure meaningful employment in the U.S.

Ana graduated from the training program in March of 2020, right before the onset of the pandemic. Thereafter, she began applying to jobs and while she was discouraged at first, she kept searching.

“The diversity of the program was as important as the tutors and other pieces of training because it created the possibility of interchanging with people that were in the same place as you, increasing the enrichment and experience of the program,” says Ana.

With the help of ongoing coaching through the IPP and in connecting with previous associates she came across the job at The Clay Studio, the company she works at today. She says, “Through the whole application and interview process, I felt very supported by my coach and The Welcoming Center.”

Many immigrants, like Ana with university degrees, are unemployed or underemployed, working in low-wage jobs. IPP works with these highly skilled immigrants to actualize their full potential while also promoting best practices through employer partnerships and informing the field of skilled immigrant integration on a national level.

We invite you to join us for Solas 2021 on March 3rd to learn more about the individuals who we work with every day. By registering for Solas and making a donation, you will directly support core services like the International Professionals Program.

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The Welcoming Center