Barbara Kamm is being honored as a Promoting Citizenship in the Workplace Champion of Change.
Many of us in Silicon Valley are working to help meet the predicted workforce needs of the next decade. This includes providing better, more efficient training and education in our community colleges and universities and creating opportunities for foreign-born workers who are legal, permanent residents and eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
San Francisco Bay Area businesses like Tech CU are creating partnerships with organizations such as the National Immigration Forum’s New American Workforce, which assist our customers and employees with information on citizenship.
There are approximately 536,000 immigrants in the Bay Area who meet are eligible to apply for citizenship. These individuals do everything from writing code to treating patients—and they can be part of the solution that addresses the evolving needs of U.S. companies. Yet, many never take that final step towards citizenship, leaving critical benefits on the table, such as increased earnings, greater access to job opportunities, and the ability to petition for family members.
Working with local community legal service, companies like ours are hosting free citizenship seminars, where individuals receive legal assistance with their application for as little as $90. Some of the New American Workforce employer partners also host English-language training and civics courses.
Why are we so invested in our employees? It’s good for business. By providing access to citizenship guidance and legal services, we are ensuring a robust, diverse labor force dedicated to the mission of our company.
Encouraging our employees to attain citizenship strengthens the U.S. workforce and drives innovation within this country. This can lead to new developments in medicine, infrastructure, and agriculture, benefitting our economy, our country, and our world.
Barbara Kamm is President and CEO of Tech CU.