Immigrant Integration Symposium

Friday, April 10, 2015


Opening Session - Eskinder Negash, former director, US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement

Morning Breakout Sessions

Economic Impact of Immigrants in NH

Farming Projects with New Americans

School Success


Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Collaborative Leadership

Community Policing

Maximizing Employment Opportunities

Health & Wellness

Gallery Walk - See below

Closing Session - Sylvia Saavedra, Community Training Assistance Center

Virtual Gallery Walk

Want to learn what was discussed in each of the day's breakout sessions? Check out the session notes below.

Economic Impact of Immigrants in NH - Dennis Delay, Economist, NH Center for Public Policy Studies

  • Key themes
    • Immigrants fill holes at entry level and high end of labor market
    • Impact of immigrants positive financially in terms of new business start-ups
    • Without immigration state would be losing population - more people equals a stronger economy. There is room for everyone
  • NH ranks 31st in number of foreign born
  • Manchester and Hillsborough have largest concentration of foreign born
  • Foreign born with Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science or better is 38.9% (9th highest in the United States)
  • We would benefit economically from "open borders"
  • Tremendous need to address affordable housing to retain residents
  • Need to not only train immigrants on how to successfully get a job but also employers on how to assess people from different cultures
  • People have misperception of how immigration affects economy
  • Economy in reality does not equal a pie; but is more like a church congregation. We all benefit as we add new people.

Farming Projects with New Americans - Dr. Lynda Brushett, Cooperative Development Institute and Charlene Higgins, NASAP Training Coordinator, Organizations for Refugee & Immigrant Success (ORIS)

  • Challenges
    • Land access
    • Language/translation
    • Transportation (for farmers)
    • Land protection/fertilizer
    • Competition with local farmers
    • Money/budget management
    • Trust (farmers with various backgrounds)
  • Solutions
    • New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility - members want to assist immigrant farmers potentially
    • Individual Development Accounts (small business Individual Development Account) - community loan funds
    • Research - more research on farmers' needs

School Success- Dr. Debra Livingston, Superintendent, Manchester School District, Mark Conrad, Superintendent, Nashua School District, and Wendy Perron, Director, English Language Instruction, Manchester School District

  • First Language acquisition transfers to second language acquisition
  • Educators and students need to be exposed to other cultures
  • Immigrant students are seen as financial burden in some districts
  • Immigrant first language development is not valued
  • lack of diversity in teacher population
  • Culturally relevant curriculum needed
  • Communities are more segregated now than in 1950s
  • School-community partnerships need to be prompted
  • Educators need to listen to students - give them a voice
  • School success defined by:
    • Community
    • Educator
    • Standard test scores
  • Language and culture may be a barrier to parent involvement

Collaborative Leadership - Amadou Hamady, International Institute, Bhagirath Khatiwada, Director of Programs, Bhutanese Community of NH, and Colin Van Ostern, Executive Councilor

6 Leadership.JPG
  • Communities recognizing leaders within
  • Trust/leadership benefiting "all"
  • Transformational leadership (importance of developing those around you)
  • Seeing yourself through the people you serve
  • Challenge of current leaders not connecting with vision of what new immigrants expect
  • Where in NH is the space for collaboration?
    • Comfortable when it looks like "home"
    • Opening up offices before/after hours
    • Does it have to be a space?
    • Comfortable speaking to someone
    • Need to find common ground
    • Business, government, society working together
  • Communication with kids (do not forget parents)
  • Activities open to community that inform and educate
  • Understanding leadership diversity in minority communities
    • Listen and enable others to move forward
    • Connecting with values and culture of community (for example should the male be in the room)
    • Democracy in one place may not mean the same in a different place
    • Leader of the community needs to be seen as someone I can rely on
  • Facts about NH
    • Females in elected offices
    • Marriage equality
  • What is NH?
  • Inclusive leadership
  • Decision making process (Budget versus values)
  • Where do you find the strength?
    • You do get tired
    • Facing limitations and not be able to explain others
    • Patience is key/you cannot solve everyone's problems
    • Been through same experiences/understand their struggle
    • There is hope
  • Collaborating with other communities and sharing strategies/challenges
    • Is there a way for all of us to work together and not be isolated in groups?
    • Remember our elders
  • How do we maintain identity and move forward?
  • Ethnic organizations bridge to larger community
  • Build upon strengths
  • Informal networks/educate other about each other

Community Policing - David Mara, Chief of Police, Manchester Police Department and Eva Castillo-Turgeon, Commissioner, Manchester Police Department

  • Few challenges
    • Minority recruitment into the force to reflect the "face of Manchester"
    • National media creates perception rather than reality of police efforts in Manchester
  • What "we" can do
    • Get involved in community to understand its fabric (attend events)
    • Attend Manchester Police Community Advisory Board meetings (2nd Monday at 11 am each month)
    • Learn and participate in citizens police academy
  • "We all want to be safe and have a quality of life!"
  • Solutions are in action:
    • example: Manchester Police Policy in place: unless (violent misdemeanor or felony) have particular reason, no asking about green card ("documentation")
    • Example: Building relationships with immigrant community:
      • Citizens Advisory Board
      • Youth leadership academy - teach immigrant youth about systems
      • Adults - teaching parental rights
      • Officers assigned to communities without have to react to general calls and writing reports
      • Cell phone numbers given to immigrant communities so they can contact officers directly

Maximizing Employment Opportunities - Tanya Dumont, Program Manager, Division of Public Health, Former Grant Coordinator, Services for New Americans at Ascentria Care Alliance, Steve Duprey, President, Foxfire Management Company, Dr. Kedar Gupta, co-founder & CEO, ARC Energy, and Tika Acharya, President, Bhutanese Community of NH

  • Vision
    • Create a mentorship program for new arrivals - example: upwardly global
    • Create a mentorship program for students
    • Chambers/Business and Industry Association needs to hear from employers regarding good practices
    • Storytelling of strength and economic impact of refugees and immigrants
    • Organize ourselves to take advantage of federal monies
    • Integration is not just providing a job to pay the rent but how to contribute to the community
  • Challenges
    • Leadership/employers need to create a corporate culture so prejudices do not foster/grow
    • Transportation and lack thereof more problematic than language
    • 6 months is not enough time for resettlement process ("Government must smarten up" Steve Duprey)
    • Need to include customs/cultural accumulation into trainings
    • Language barriers can mean that employers need to create more support for trainees
    • "Cookie-cutter programs" are not effective
  • Positives
    • Work ethic of New Americans is unmatched therefore motivates American born worker(s)
    • Access to resources and education is abundant in the USA/NH
    • Get settled and start your own business

Health & Wellness - Selma Tarahija, Health Equity Coordinator, Manchester Community Health Center, Jaime Hoebeke, Division Head of Chronic Disease Prevent and Neighborhood Health, and Lara Quiroga, Project Launch Director, Manchester Community Health Center

  • Neighborhood connections
  • Preventative medicine -
    • Through schools
    • Community health workers
  • Collaboration -
    • Integration - of services, to see a system of care reaching a broader population
  • Needs and root causes
  • Health care not "sick care"
  • Home visiting
  • Courses for parents
  • Mental health consultations
    • Child development and behavior
    • Screening
  • Behavior health in primary care
    • Community health workers
  • Funding issues, expansion of health care plans in NH
  • "Real data" collection
    • Community health workers
      • Home visits
      • Cultural impacts on health, literacy, partnerships, focus groups
      • Diabetes, hypertension data
      • Emergency room use community workers instead?
  • Is NH slow to change?
    • Requires community involvement
    • "Hot-spotting" over-utilization of care issues