As you may have read in the community Tri-Cities News last week (Finding work key for Syrian refugee and Coquitlam business owner challenges Tri-City companies to hire newcomers), a couple of local business leaders, who are long time Chamber members have stepped up to provide stability and security for newly-arrived Syrian refugees:  they gave them meaningful work and employment.

Bill Dick of Phoenix Truck and Crane and Fred Soofi of Pasta Polo both saw the need for opportunities among these newcomers. They took their obligation to the Tri-Cities community to the next level by hiring these willing and capable folks and providing opportunity for these new members of our society.

In 2015, research undertaken by the Tri-Cities  Local Immigration Partnership (http://tricitieslip.ca/), a group of community organizations and businesses that help facilitate immigrant settlement and integration in the Tri-Cities, shows that there is a great disparity between the incomes of recent immigrants and the total population. This disparity represents the many barriers to integration and self-sufficiency that immigrants face in our community while attempting to build new lives. Our Immigration and International Trade policy committee is actively looking at this information to explore out how the Tri-Cities Chamber can best participate in the settlement and integration of new immigrants and refugees.

I’m very proud to part of an organization that understands the key role that immigrants and refugees play in our local economy and our community. And I’m proud that we can count leaders like Bill and Fred among our membership. The steps they’re taking to employ new immigrants and refugees provides much needed support  to a vulnerable part of our community and should be an example to us all.   We would encourage other businesses to follow their lead and assist in the transition to a new country for new immigrants and refugees. Providing meaningful employment for those new to our community is one of many ways that we can build strong businesses and strong communities.

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