Rhode Island Center To Help Immigrant Health Care Workers Obtain Credentials To Practice in U.S.
The Providence Journal on Sunday featured the Rhode Island Welcome Back Center, which opened on Monday to help immigrants who trained as doctors, nurses, social workers and physical therapists in their native nations obtain related work in the U.S.
The Welcome Back Center, which is modeled after similar centers in Boston and San Francisco, is jointly funded by the Rhode Island Foundation, the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust, the Annie E. Casey Foundation/Making Connections Providence, United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Department of Education. Over a two-year period the center will receive $275,000, which will help pay for two full-time and three part-time employees, according to Susan Closter-Godoy, grants manager for Dorcas Place, where the center will be located.
The center will offer an English-language proficiency class designed specifically for health care professionals, guide participants through required state and federal licensing examinations and help participants fulfill their ultimate health career goals, Manuela Raposo, director of the center, said. The goal in the first year is to serve about 30 people who will receive only English classes and another 30 people who are proficient in English but need help obtaining the necessary credentials to begin practicing, Raposo said.
Anna Cano-Morales of the Rhode Island Foundation called the prospective participants "invisible immigrants" who are not fulfilling their talent, adding, "It's sad, it's inhumane and it's not very smart on our part. I know people who came here as architects or nurses who ended up working in factories." Closter-Godoy said, "The philanthropy community is enthused about this project," adding, "It's connecting community assets with community needs" (Smith, Providence Journal, 6/15).