Monday, May 11, 2009

Welcome Center Marks Four Years of Assisting New Immigrants & Internationals in Pittsburgh

The Welcome Center for Immigrants & Internationals helps new arrivals to the Pittsburgh region with a variety of issues, ranging from housing and employment to starting a new business, accessing affordable health care, assistance in filling out forms, or even taking a driver's license exam. Most of the services are available at no cost.

The Welcome Center works actively with community partners and service providers who bring to the table their own areas of expertise. For more information, go to www.wcii.org.

Welcome Center staff, many of whom speak several languages, provide recommendations about English as a Second Language programs in the area, and provide job placement assistance, housing or home repair information, small business advice and guidance on immigration and naturalization issues.

The idea for the Welcome Center grew out of university research indicating the positive impact of immigration and its role in promoting economic development and building a multicultural diverse community in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

In the words of Dan Onorato, Allegheny County Chief Executive, "Our region has a rich history as a destination for large numbers of immigrants, and I believe that we can benefit from new initiatives that attract immigrants, as well as international businesses. Not only would the Welcome Center help to revitalize our region and strengthen our economy, it will also help hard-working individuals and families thrive in our region."

Founded in May 2005, the Welcome Center offers services over the telephone using a toll-free number (866-774-2201). The Center’s staff members speak more than 15 different languages, serving clients from 100 different countries.

Southwestern Pennsylvania has a long and rich immigrant history. Today, the number of foreign-born people living in the metro Pittsburgh area is 62,000.

Immigrants continue to arrive for a variety of jobs at all levels in almost every field of work. The immigrants arriving in Pittsburgh come from many parts of the world including East Asia, India, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and numerous African countries.

Click on the links below to see some examples of where selected foreign-born populations were living in Allegheny county, according to the last census:

For map of Chinese immigrants and internationals, click here.

For map of Indian immigrants and internationals, click here.

For map of Italian immigrants and internationals, click here.

For map of Mexican immigrants and internationals, click here.

For map of Russian immigrants and internationals, click here.

For more information on WCII programs and services, contributing time or financial resources or partnering, call 412-422-8795 or 866-774-2201, or email info@wcii.org.

The Welcome Center is located in Squirrel Hill at 5743 Bartlett St.,
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

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