Group of participants at the 2nd Annual African Immigrant Professional Development Conference

Center for Immigrant Career Advancement – African Immigrant Professional Development Conference

In 2003, my mother and siblings moved to the United States to unite with my father. Prior to coming to the States, we learned that America was a “different place.” We were informed that employers in the US did not care about foreign degrees and that most educated foreigners worked in positions well below their educational level, and this was no different for my father. My Dad, a Boston University, trained Sociologist, worked in a group home as a Direct Support Staff. Many days when my Dad returned home from work, we could see the disappointment in his face, and whenever he could, he would speak about how much he disliked his job.

I made a promise to myself to figure out the system and make sure that other immigrants did not have the same experience as my father. The seed for assisting African immigrant professionals was planted, but I was also aware that I needed more research and support. When the opportunity came to complete my doctorate, I knew the focus of my research from the moment I entered grad school. After almost five years of schooling and procrastinating, I finished my dissertations on, “The experiences of African Immigrant who have successfully matriculated to managerial positions in Minnesota.” With my dissertation completed, I was inspired to use the results of my research to establish the African Immigrant Professional Development Conference. The conference was a great success, however I quickly realized that in order to make a difference, that I would have to go beyond networking and create partnerships that would place African immigrants in positions that are comparable with their skills set. I solicited the help of my sister, Margretta Getaweh, and the idea for the Center for Immigrant Career Advancement was born.

This grant will enable our team to conduct more networking sessions and provide the tools that African immigrant professionals need to become successful in their careers.