Past Webinars

Expanding the Personal and Professional Networks of Immigrants through Connector Programs

In this webinar, participants learned how connector programs, from Halifax to St. Louis to Detroit, strengthen international professionals’ ability to participate in regional job markets and obtain meaningful employment. Many operate on a referral basis by which foreign-born residents, international students, and young professionals grow their professional networks by meeting with established professionals in their field, more established residents who share their cultural, national, and ethnic heritage, or other volunteers interested in assisting international newcomers in the region.


  • Gracie Xavier – Skilled Program Administrator and Community Artist with vast experience delivering programs and services to constituents of diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds to achieve social, economic, and educational success.
  • Robyn Webb – As the Director of Labour Market Development, Executive of National Connector Program, Robyn leads the Partnership’s talent attraction and retention initiatives, including the Connector Program and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.  Robyn partners with and supports Canadian communities and industry associations interested in launching the Connector Program.
  • Vin Ko – Senior Program Manager at St. Louis Mosaic Project, Vin is a motivated and energetic organizer devoted to community building. He has a background in grassroots and non profit campaigns and development with a focus on forging strong bonds and creating new opportunities.

How Immigrant and Refugee Housing Can Rebuild Neighborhoods

Legacy cities across the Midwest are looking to immigrants and refugees as catalysts for energizing urban neighborhoods that have lost population and seen disinvestment. Hear from RISE in St. Louis as they tackle their second affordable housing project initiated, in part, to connect with immigrants and refugees as potential tenants, as well as from Global Detroit in its efforts to facilitate immigrant purchase, rehab, and occupancy of vacant housing from the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

Last October, the Welcoming Economies Global Network joined with the Fiscal Policy Institute to document the housing market that immigrants and refugees comprise in 23 Rust Belt cities. Collectively, the research revealed that while immigrants make up 11% of the population (and are often the only growing segment of the population in these cities), they comprise 13% of the current households renting who could afford new housing.

This webinar explored innovative approaches for pursuing the opportunities that immigrants and refugees bring to housing and neighborhood revitalization.

Featured Speakers

  • Raquel Garcia, Director of Partnerships and Community Outreach, Global Detroit
  • Mark Stroker, Director of Partnerships and Community Outreach, RISE (Rise Community Development) – St. Louis