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New state program matches skilled immigrants with employers

Kate Hiscock
Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new state initiative aims to help foreign-born professionals find jobs in Michigan.

The Michigan International Talent Solutions program offers skilled immigrants assistance with resumes, applications, interview skills and other aspects of the job search process.

Annie Fenton, the program's director, said immigrants who worked in professional roles in their home countries often have difficulty finding equivalent positions in the United States. 

"They were working as engineers or doctors or IT professionals, and they come to the U.S. and the [job search] process is very different," she said.

Fenton said cultural differences can keep immigrants from finding gainful employment.

"For example, in south Asia, a resume can be 12 to 15 pages long. It would have their photo, marital status, and how many children they have," Fenton said.

Fenton said immigrants also often come to the U.S. without a professional network within their industry and need assistance making connections.

Once they do find employment, she said many immigrants "soar."

"They're anticipating becoming part of the American fabric." Fenton said. "They want to get back to their career and use their training and expertise in the U.S."

That expertise, she said, will be a big benefit to Michigan employers.

"On the state's talent website, there are over 103,000 open jobs," Fenton said. "I talk to employers everyday that are unable to fill positions." 

To qualify for the program, immigrants must be proficient in English and have a green card or permanent work authorization, a bachelor's degree and two years of experience. 

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