The Immigrant Learning Center in Malden, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, assists immigrants and refugees by providing free English classes. The center recognizes that a working knowledge of English is the key that unlocks opportunities for immigrants in the United States. I came to this country when I was eleven years old so I know firsthand how vital it is for immigrants to be able to read and speak the national language of their new country. The ILC’s approach is simple: they use an immersion learning program to teach English as a Second Language.
Recently the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council worked together to explore the issue of job creation by immigrant entrepreneurs. In January they jointly issued a report that makes a number of policy recommendations to make it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to contribute to the American economy. The report also acknowledges the Immigrant Learning Center’s first installment of the Immigrant Entrepreneur Hall of Fame which was published on their Website on January 25. ILC created the Immigrant Entrepreneur Hall of Fame to demonstrate the breadth of the contributions that immigrants have made to American business, culture and society. I was honored and humbled to have been included in this select group of entrepreneurs that includes Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Alexander Mellon, Alexander Graham Bell, E. I. du Pont, Levi Strauss, William Proctor and James Gamble, Charles Pfizer, John W. Nordstrom, and many others whose names are less well known but their companies are household words: eBay, Google, Kraft Foods, Kohl’s, Comcast, Sun Microsystems, You Tube, Yahoo! and Radio Shack, just to name a few. You can see who else is in the hall of fame and learn more about the Immigrant Learning Center at their website www.ilctr.org.