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Becoming productive Americans

August 1, 2010

In an editorial in today’s Star Tribune, J. Brian Atwood, dean of the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, names the Jane Addams School for Democracy as an organization that helps newcomers become productive citizens. What Brian Atwood doesn’t address in his editorial is the need — and the potential of Jane Addams School — to help long-term residents become productive citizens, too.

How do we take advantage of the creativity immigrants bring to Minnesota? How do we help them become productive Americans? Well, there are many organizations in Minnesota that take on this task. I am particularly proud of an organization spawned and now spun off by the Humphrey Institute, the Jane Addams School. This institution helps newcomers understand what it is like to be an American citizen. It teaches both the rights and the obligations of citizens. It also encourages our new immigrants to hold onto their cultures. Diversity is what enriches American life, and that is because America is a nation of immigrants.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 6, 2010 2:45 pm

    An immigrant women I mention in a recent piece is just the sort of success story Jane Addams School can–and does–support. Her transition from Somalia to Minnesota resulted in her becoming a productive citizen due to programs which helped her get a job and learn to speak English.

    More important, is that she, like my own Italian immigrants did nearly a century ago, has brought family values and work ethic to our community that enrich it in numerous ways.

    Without the imported wisdom of citizens like these, I wonder how our country can fulfill it’s desire to lead the world as innovators in both institutions and communities.

    Read more about how Immigrants = Economic Assets, here:

    http://nonpartisanproductivedialogue.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/immigrants-economic-assets/

    Andrea Grazzini Walstrom
    Nonpartisan Productive Dialogue

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