Over the 20 years, WISE has implemented a number of community-based initiatives aimed at raising consciousness of immigrant issues, developing leadership capacities and promoting self sufficiency of immigrant and refugee women and girls. The founders of WISE envisioned a future where immigrant women and girls will be honored for their wisdom, leadership, and power to create change in their lives and their communities.
Currently, WISE is conducting three major programs through partnership and collaboration with Asian, African, and Latino agencies in areas of academic success, leadership, health, and economic self-sufficiency, namely: Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership (GGAL), Foreign Trained Healthcare Professional (FTHCP) Program and the Women Empowerment Leadership (WeLEAD) program.
1.Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership (GGAL)
In 2003 the GGAL program was started as an afterschool program to assist low income, immigrant/refugee high school age girls to build academic, English language, college readiness and leadership skills. WISE is committed to empowering girls and has two central strategies that enable us to achieve that vision:
1. Culturally appropriate, holistic services that enhance the self-awareness and self-sufficiency of women where they are now.
2. Advocacy that fosters the abilities of women and girls to determine the future they want for themselves, their families, and their communities.
GGAL also conducts a summer arts program which is designed to allow for the creation of art that explores the individual cultural identities of the girls. WISE’s summer arts program stands out artistically, because it breaks down the ideas of exclusivity that surrounds the arts and brings the art created by immigrant participants to the community in the final art/dance Imbizo exhibition.
2. Foreign Trained Healthcare Professional (FTHCP) Program: In collaboration with New American Alliance for Development (NAAD) WISE has been implementing the FTHCP Program since 2005. This program provides innovative services to foreign trained professionals (FTPs) with regard to obtaining licensure in Minnesota to practice their trained professions.
Successful outcomes include: collaboration with various stakeholders has resulted in the receipt grant support of over one million dollars in combined funding from federal, state and local foundations; 35 licensed doctors and nurses got into medical residency and/or received their license to practice their profession; 37 foreign trained physicians who have completed all their required exams and are waiting to get into medical residency; and 137 active FTHP participants (117 physicians, 12 nurses, 3 dentists, 3 pharmacists, one medical technologist and one public health worker) have registered for training and recertification services.
Over 60 stakeholders from various sectors (including, health businesses, health providers, higher education, nonprofits, and grassroots/advocacy groups) attended the Minnesota Immigrant Physicians Summit sponsored by the Bush Foundation and presented by WISE and NAAD. From this partnership a documentary called Doctors becoming Doctors was produced by Minnesota Filmmaker Teresa Konechne.
3. Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Program (WELead): The most recent program WELead, initiated in July 2013, empowers immigrant women and their families to overcome obstacles or challenges related to employment, education, English proficiencies, integration, and safety.
With the mission of “empowering immigrant women and girls to succeed”, most of WISE’s constituents are refugee/immigrant women, girls and their families in the Twin-Cities, prominently in the St. Paul area, where the size of the immigrant population has significantly increased.
In the News
MinnPost Article Writes About our Foreign Trained Professionals Program
The Foreign Trained Professionals Program is described in a MinnPost article as a “ground-breaking support system.”
Our Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership is a Changemaker 2011!
Our Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership program was designated Changemaker 2011 by the Minnesota Women’s Press!
St. Paul Pioneer Press Article About Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership
The St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote a wonderful article about our Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership program.