Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians 


Launching a New Program for Immigrant Professionals

The Welcoming Center receives $692,000 from Knight Foundation and
The Barra Foundation to launch Immigrant Professionals Career Pathways Program


This moment has been more than six years in the making.
Peter Gonzales headshot
Peter Gonzales

During that time, the Welcoming Center has aided hundreds of work-authorized immigrant jobseekers to find an initial job in the United States.

But for many immigrant professionals, that is only part of the journey. For an immigrant nurse or accountant, navigating the complex process of transferring their credentials to the US can be confusing and time-consuming.

That's why we're thrilled to announce that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Barra Foundation have each stepped up to fund an innovative new Immigrant Professionals Career Pathways Program.

This program will be a powerful springboard for internationally-educated individuals who are eager to launch their professional work in the United States.

Read the official press release about our new program.   
We're excited to begin this new phase of our work. If you're interested in learning more, please contact Deputy Director Bahiya Cabral-Johnson at (215) 557-2868 or bahiya@welcomingcenter.org.

Thank you for your interest and support.
Peter Gonzales signature

Peter Gonzales
President and CEO

Skilled immigrant data snapshot presentation cover

Who Are Pennsylvania's Immigrant Professionals?


There are more than 720,000 immigrants living in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and 217,000 of them have college degrees.


While many are working in skill-appropriate jobs, others are still seeking the information and resources they need to return to professional work.


Take a look at our data snapshot to learn more about immigrant professionals in Pennsylvania.  

A Detailed Planning Process


Thanks to an earlier planning grant from The Barra Foundation, the Welcoming Center spent more than a year planning this new program.


Guiding the planning process were two experienced consultants:

Gerald Whelan
Gerald Whelan, MD


Dr. Gerald Whelan, former director of the Acculturation program at the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. Dr. Whelan and Welcoming Center staff visited programs in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York as part of the fact-finding process.


His detailed report helped guide our Leadership Team in determining the ultimate shape of the Immigrant Professionals Career Pathways Program. Dr. Whelan remains closely involved in the project, and will be teaching a course he developed, "Introduction to the US Healthcare System," for select participants.



Jose Ramon Fernandez-Pena headshot
Jos� Ram�n Fern�ndez-Pe�a, MD

Dr. Jos� Ram�n Fern�ndez-Pe�a, founder of the nonprofit Welcome Back Initiative and professor at San Francisco State University. Dr. Fern�ndez-Pe�a offered detailed advice from his experience aiding 10 sites around the US to launch Welcome Back Centers serving immigrant health professionals.


He also serves as Policy Chair of IMPRINT, the national coalition focused on skilled immigrants, and as a member of the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association. Through these roles, he will provide key guidance to the Welcoming Center in our work to establish sustainable funding for services to immigrant professionals.