From Venezuela to Philadelphia: Finding Success as an Immigrant

By Gianna Salituri

A successful engineer from Venezuela, a dedicated hard worker, a very optimistic person. All of these qualities should bring some kind of success, but it is far more challenging to find a job in your career path as an immigrant in the United States then one would imagine.

“It was overwhelming. I was used to traveling around the world, but being an immigrant is different than being a tourist.”

Jean Phillipe Flores moved to the U.S. four years ago, and to Philadelphia two years in. He left Venezuela due to social and economic problems and to provide a better life for himself, leaving all his loved ones in Venezuela. “It was overwhelming. I was used to traveling around the world, but being an immigrant is different than being a tourist.”

Jean Phillipe stumbled upon the Welcoming Center when he was looking for an organization that would help integrate him into the American workforce. He noticed it was a nonprofit organization helping immigrants with similar needs.

“Everything started because I wanted to learn more about the IPP. I went there and Elizabeth interviewed me and set me up for an interview with Miranda. A couple of weeks later I started my journey in that amazing organization that not only helped me to find my career reinsertion but allowed me to connect with amazing people that I consider good friends now.”

Jean Phillipe (bottom left) and his fellow IPP participants

Jean Phillipe was a part of the International Professionals Program (IPP) for approximately two months.  This program allows participants to work on their resumes, build connections within one’s field, get ready for interviews and more during this intensive 8 week program. At the end of the program, IPP graduates have the opportunity to be a part of a 12-week paid, part-time, project based fellowship experience with the City of Philadelphia. This allows graduates to get hands on experience in their field. Jean Phillipe thoroughly enjoyed his fellowship experience. “It allowed me to interact with professionals in the construction and engineering industry. I could get advice, recommendations, and experience from them that helped me get to where I am now.”

IPP allowed him to understand that he needed to adapt to the American professional workforce according to the market needs while bringing in his own skills. Jean Phillipe had an amazing experience and has more than appreciated all of the support given by all of the staff members.

“I had few years of experience when I left my country and my professional experience here in the U.S is just starting. I could talk about success in a couple of years, now is too soon.”

Jean Phillipe now works for the Utility Work Construction Industry as an Assistant Project Manager. His area of expertise is the principles of management. He feels he has been able to apply his knowledge from his work experience in Venezuela. His technology and resource skills have improved significantly since moving to Philadelphia.

His inspiration and passion for engineering stems from his father. Jean Phillipe’s father is a civil engineer, so he was always involved in the field because of him. Jean Phillipe is a very humble person. He said “I had few years of experience when I left my country and my professional experience here in the U.S is just starting. I could talk about success in a couple of years, now is too soon.”

He is proud of the fact that he wasn’t afraid to move forward despite adversities and he was able to embrace new challenges in his life with such a positive attitude. His main goal at the moment is to keep working hard so he can run his own construction company one day. “I’m naturally curious so I’m always looking to move out of my comfort zone, the unknown always brings a learning moment. I love art, languages, building strong and long term relationships and enjoying life as much as I can.”

“We all have an opportunity; we need to work hard on that and look forward being the next success story.”

The biggest thing Jean Phillipe took from the Welcoming Center is, “We all have an opportunity; we need to work hard on that and look forward being the next success story.” Jean Phillipe is one of the many success stories to come out of the Welcoming Center. He is passionate about his job and helping other immigrants get the same opportunities he has had. He still has some challenges like his English skills but he is working everyday on improving them. He works hard to reach his goals and enjoys the rewards of them.

Some advice he wanted to leave for immigrants who have recently moved to the U.S. is “Be respectful, open  and adaptable with your new culture. And always judge less.” He also advises one to look into all of the concerns they might have with the legal process of immigrating to a new country, meticulously plan their  finances, and be ready to develop their emotional intelligence. He wants people to keep their minds open to welcoming immigrants as well because they bring new ideas and perspectives to the table.

About The Author

Welcoming Center