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Economy & Business

Pittsburgh Pilot Program Will Help Immigrants And Refugees Prepare For U.S. Workforce

LM Otero, AP File
In this Friday, May 19, 2017, file photo, job seekers walk into the Opportunity Fair and Forum employment in Dallas.

A new initiative aims to better prepare unemployed immigrants in Allegheny County for the American workforce.

“All for All” will offer resume clinics, networking practice and mock interviews to a group of 20 immigrants and refugees who are authorized to work in the U.S.

Participants will also learn about the nuances of American workplace culture. Program director Betty Cruz said for many immigrants, even basics, like email correspondence, is different from their native cultures.

“You don’t want to come off as being too pushy and too aggressive, and the American culture might be a little bit more direct than what they’re used to,” she said.

Cruz said in recent years, Pittsburgh has seen more diversification among the skills that recent immigrants can offer. Some worked as doctors or dentists prior to moving to the U.S., but, she said, there’s a big gap within the immigrant community. Some are recruited to come here by specific companies.

“And then you have the individuals that are in survival jobs, might even go on to have higher education here, and are still stuck in these underemployed opportunities,” she said.

The program this fall will also connect participants with local organizations who are looking to hire. Cruz said “All for All” also aims to educate employers throughout the region about the economic value of an immigrant workforce.

The program piloted by The Career Development Center and Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council is free. Applications are due by July 25.