We are excited to share with you how the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center (IWC) is achieving its mission through the implementation of its programs in this first quarter of 2019.

Thank you to all our supporters, funders, volunteers and community partners. Without you we couldn't be where we are today.
The iEnglish Project Takes Off!
Partnering with VOXY, the IWC has launched its language acquisition program. With VOXY's technology we are providing a web-based platform with these unique features:
  • Industry specific content
  • Personalized courses that adapt to individuals' interests, goals, and proficiency levels
  • Round-the-clock virtual live instruction with certified English teachers
  • Streamlined reporting through automated assessments
  • 100% authentic content individuals need to achieve their learning goals
This platform is one of the most efficient solutions to better serve working adults and break down workplace language barriers. VOXY does that with:

  • Industry specific learning material: Using a patented tool, VOXY can take any piece of real world content and turn it into an English lesson. This makes it incredibly effective and powerful for immigrant workforce integration. Instead of taking time out of their work days and learning something about English that has nothing to do with what they actually need to accomplish, learners can work on English learning and also work on workforce training at the exact same time.
MaineHealth, the largest employer in Maine, has engaged into talent development for its New Mainer workforce using our digital language lab and the VOXY platform. We currently have 20 learners from MaineHealth for whom we have customized English lessons content with materials provided by their employer.
“The iEnglish Project at the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center is what MaineHealth workforce development is all about - a local program that supports our employees professional growth in an innovative, supportive and customized way. As the largest employer in the state, our current and future workforce relies on these important partnerships and continued learning opportunities - it is where we need to be.” - Judy West, Chief Human Resources Officer, MaineHealth
“I like everything about the program, and the way it is organized. It gives me hope and a view about what I can do in the future as a job at Maine Medical Center.” - Current Maine Medical Center employee in the iEnglish Project
We are also providing access to the VOXY platform in our digital language lab to five Portland Museum of Art employees and ten licenses have been provided to IntWork, currently working on credentializatiion of individuals with civil engineering backgrounds.

The iEnglish Project is already planning its expansion with new language labs at Hope House in Portland, with Mano en Mano in Milbridge, and with Capital Area New Mainers Project in Augusta.
Screenshot of MaineHealth's customized VOXY course.
The Immigrant Entrepreneur Greenhouse
The first initiative of our Immigrant Business Hub is the Immigrant Entrepreneur Greenhouse .

The Greenhouse program is in the final stages of entrepreneur selection. Ten applicants from six countries and three continents are vying for five slots in the program, which will fully launch in May. 

Over the course of six months those five participants will receive: 
  • Mentoring 
  • Training 
  • Connections
  • Access to capital
  • Access to space

The connections will include a one year membership in the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce , along with connections to relevant expertise in the Rotary Club of Portland . Mentors will include members of Rotary as well as trained SCORE volunteers.

And in June we will start a monthly "bring your own" lunch on the second Thursday of the month. Greenhouse participants as well as any and all immigrant entrepreneurs are welcome to drop in any time from noon until 2:00pm at the Business Hub on the fourth floor.
Thank you to Don Gooding and Alexandra Angle for donating their time and talents to lead the Greenhouse Program advisory committee. Don is the former Executive Director of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development. Alexandra is an interior designer.
About Ongoing Legislative Session
The IWC is closely tracking a number of bills that touch our key program areas and core constituencies, and we look forward to working with elected officials and the Mills administration in the second half of the legislative session to help advance our mission and vision through the legislative process.
The National Partnership for New Americans' Board Approves the IWC as its New Member
We are proud to announce that the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) Board of Directors has approved the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center as its new member this past January. The NPNA was founded in 2010 by 12 of the country’s largest statewide immigrant advocacy organizations. The organizations and the communities that comprise them identified a need for a national voice for immigrant communities. NPNA was formed to leverage the existing expertise among its member organizations for greater collective impact.

Since then, NPNA has grown to include 37 organizations that build power in immigrant communities and shape the conversation on immigrant integration at the local, state, and federal levels. NPNA holds a unique position in the immigrant rights movement as the foremost institution comprised of and led by immigrant constituencies who effectively mobilize for change that represents our most pressing needs.

The NPNA convenes its members and national partners at its annual National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC), a collaborative table where policy, business, nonprofit, labor, academic, faith, grassroots, and philanthropic leaders build towards a more vibrant, just, and welcoming democracy for all.

"It's a natural fit for the IWC to join the national conversation around immigrant integration and the overall future of our communities. It's only by leveraging our collective organizing, knowledge and resources that we will harness the POWER OF WE . We are proud of joining the NPNA team."
-Virginia French, IWC Board Chair

Click HERE for more information about NPNA Programs.
Coming Soon!
A New Mainer's Guide to
Greater Portland

The IWC has created this guide in partnership with the Portland Public Library (PPL) as a tool to help New Mainers navigate the different resources available at each phase of their integration here in Southern Maine. The physical guide is a booklet full of resources relating to food and shelter, legal support, health care, community organizations, education, career advancement opportunities, and everything in between. 

Copies will be ready this month.
The IWC Co-Working Space Continues to Thrive...
The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center has welcomed a new star volunteer to oversee our co-working space. Nancy Kamaliza began volunteering at the IWC after she arrived in Maine last August, and has recently been volunteering full time to streamline operations of the co-working space. She brings to the IWC administrative experience from Rwanda, her country of origin. She speaks French, English, and Swahili.
Please join us in welcoming these new members of the co-working space:

  • The Immigrant Resource Center Of Maine (IRCM). The mission of the IRCM is to support refugee and immigrant communities by offering culturally and linguistically sensitive services to promote a healthy and equitable Maine.
  • The Maine Immigrant Musical Instrument Project/International Open Mic. Singer songwriter Jenny Van West runs Portland's International Open Mic Night, as well as teaches guitar classes to New Mainers.
Felix Hagenimana : Attorney at Law
"I chose to use IWC for many reasons. For one, I care about issues affecting immigrants being an immigrant myself. But also, immigration makes a huge part of my law practice. My clients are immigrants. Second, the place is beautiful with lots of conference room space. This is extremely helpful for me when I need to meet clients who happen to be a large family. Plus, it's great to get to know other stakeholders who are working on issues affecting new Mainers. Finally, this is a new Mainers-led initiative. I selfishly like success stories of new Americans in the face of constant negative coverage and vilification of immigrants".
Other co-working space news:
The IWC is currently providing space for string ensemble Palaver Strings to conduct their Intro to Strings class this spring. Thank you Palaver for making high-quality music education accessible to all.
On June 13 the IWC is hosting Cinq à Sept , a monthly networking event thrown by The Maine Magazine .
In the first quarter of 2019, 28 different community organizations have used our meeting spaces, totaling 236 hours and 40 minutes.

If you or your organization is interested in using our meeting rooms, book online HERE .
Third floor co-working space. Photos courtesy of Hamid Karimian of
With such a successful beginning to 2019, we can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for the IWC. Thank you for being a part of this.
Alain J. Nahimana | Executive Director
The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center
Office: (207) 517-3405