SAN JOSE, Calif. — Permanent resident employees at Technology Credit Union, ABM, Nokia and DTZ will start receiving free citizenship assistance from their employers this month. The announcement was made today at a press conference hosted by the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.
These top companies will be teaming up with the Bethlehem Project to support workers in their pursuit of citizenship. The program is an effort in cities nationwide to help businesses assist their eligible immigrant employees with the naturalization process so they become full participants in the workplace, community and local economy.
“Immigration has shaped the landscape of Silicon Valley for the last century, and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It is one of the biggest influences on our businesses and economy, and one of the most important issues we face as a community,” said Barbara B. Kamm, President and CEO of Technology Credit Union. “We at Technology Credit Union support programs such as the Bethlehem Project because they provide much-needed resources and information for green card holders seeking citizenship. It’s important to our membership and to our community, and therefore it’s important to us.”
“One of the greatest economic generators for San Jose and Silicon Valley has always been the diversity of our region, and the Bethlehem Project is a wonderful resource for our business community,” said Jim Reed, Vice President of Public Policy at the Silicon Valley San Jose Chamber of Commerce. “This partnership will only aid in maximizing the contributions that the immigrant community has already made to our region for over 200 years, and we are happy to welcome the Bethlehem Project to Silicon Valley.”
Through the Bethlehem Project, lawful permanent resident employees of these businesses will attend a citizenship information session. In the weeks to come, they will also receive free one-on-one citizenship legal assistance, civics and English test preparation, and help submitting the N-400 citizenship application.
“I am now an American citizen. Becoming an American has always been important for me because I can vote. I feel like I have a voice,” said Rosario Becerra, an ABM employee who has benefited from the Bethlehem Project. “ABM has made it possible to take classes at the worksite. This made it possible for me to learn and become more confident.”
With the San Jose launch, the Bethlehem Project has partnered with more than 50 businesses in five cities nationwide.
“Silicon Valley companies are taking the lead in providing critical assistance to their immigrant employees,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director at the National Immigration Forum, which runs the Bethlehem Project. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Businesses open the door for critical services to their employees, and employees have the chance to pursue their American Dream.”
The work of the Bethlehem Project is made possible in San Jose by the generous support of the New Americans Campaign, the Grove Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation.