After graduating from our International Professionals Program (IPP) in April, Hassene (from Algeria) and Olga (from Ukraine) found meaningful employment as Contact Tracers for the City of Philadelphia.
Every day, they use their cultural and linguistic skills to help other immigrants access critical information and support while protecting the public’s health.
Hassene made a difficult decision to leave his home in Algeria and come to the U.S, but he wanted better opportunities for his children. Despite ten years of professional work experience in his country, he had a very hard time finding employment.
To make ends meet, he worked as a delivery person and warehouse team member. A friend introduced him to the Welcoming Center where he enrolled in IPP and attended an information session about Contact Tracer positions with the City of Philadelphia, one of our employer partners. The City was looking to hire people with multilingual skills and Hassene speaks French and Arabic in addition to English. He applied for the position and got the job. According to Hassene, this is his first great job opportunity in the U.S.
“I had no resources to pay for training. I could attend IPP at no cost which helped me a lot. Many immigrants don’t have friends or connections in the U.S. IPP helps make those connections. I urge donors to support the Welcoming Center so they can provide training to more people like myself.”
Olga moved to the U.S. with her husband and two children. She enrolled in IPP two months after arriving. She also connected to her Contact Tracer position through the Welcoming Center. She was seeking a position that made use of her native language skills (Russian and Ukranian) as well as English and is proud of the impact that she is making in the community.
“I am giving people information that can help them a lot. It’s a great impact even if I only talk to five people a day because that can make a huge difference in the lives of all the people they were in contact with.”