Leading Change: International Institute of St. Louis
Upon arriving in STL, immigrants and refugees typically spend a few months at the International Institute, which provides critical services for successful integration into the community. The Career Advancement for International Professionals, now on its fourth class, offers foreign higher-education degree-holders with recertification assistance, career-specific English instruction and accent perfection. And by July, a native-language programming broadcast on FM 102.9 (and podcast) will teach the subtleties of the American day-to-day how to register to vote, what parking meters are, etc. “It’ll be a way regardless of where someone lives or their work schedule to get the integrative information they need to have a positive resettlement experience,” International Institute CEO Anna Crosslin says.
This experience is critical to immigrants’ economic impact: A 2012 study by Saint Louis University found they’re 60 percent more likely than native born citizens to begin a business, which the org can help kickstart through a development program. “Immigration doesn’t just increase the city’s cultural value, but it’s part of a small-business backbone that will help St. Louis grow economically,” Crosslin says.
This article was featured in November 2015 Issue.