Phalla's Story

“The Welcoming Center is such a good setting for education and training and it has been important for immigrants like me to obtain good skills and career counseling that helps us eventually get jobs. The Welcoming Center is a place that means so much to me and thousands of other immigrants.”
Phalla Chhoeun, Cambodia


In 2014, Phalla immigrated to the U.S. from Cambodia to start a new life. He understood very little English and lacked the confidence to speak with people in this strange new language. About two months after arriving in the U.S., he tried to find classes to improve his English and came upon the Welcoming Center. His speaking and writing in English began to improve remarkably after only a few months. Additionally, his professional network began to grow by meeting other immigrant students from around the world, as well as Welcoming Center instructors and staff members. Eventually, the Welcoming Center connected Phalla to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he landed a scholarship for the Community Healthcare Worker training program.

English proficiency is a critical tool for achieving economic success in the United States. According to a 2014 Brookings Institute report, adults with Limited English Proficiency earn 25-40% less than their English-proficient counterparts. More than 30% of newcomers to the Philadelphia region are Limited English Proficient. As the region’s immigrant population continues to grow, we must ensure that there are ample opportunities for immigrants like Phalla to learn and improve their English language skills while receiving job training and career counseling services.

Would you consider making a tax deductible donation to the Welcoming Center today to support our English classes and employment services for immigrants and refugees?

p.s. Phalla continues to give back. As one of twenty-five members, he has joined our Participant Advisory Council providing time, resources, and talent to the Welcoming Center and to other civic efforts in his community. An investment in the Welcoming Center is an investment in our communities!