Supporting our global workforce: Why business leadership is key to advancing smarter, kinder immigration policies
Massachusetts’ economy has thrived for decades by attracting talent from all around the world: from high-tech entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers, to hospitality, health care and construction workers. One in five workers in our Commonwealth is foreign-born, and in some fields, they make up half or more of the work force.
Under the current administration, however, that talent pool is shrinking, and thousands of highly valued workers face a deeply uncertain future. H-1B visa denial rates have increased fivefold, and though the numbers of seasonal H-2A and H-2B visas have increased this year, uncertainty and shortages in previous years have caused significant challenges. Employers with workers covered by DACA or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) don’t know how long those programs will continue. And many other changes in policy and practice are affecting education, health care and additional sectors.
Last October, recognizing the need to advocate together for policies that reflect the importance of global talent to our economy, dozens of business leaders formed the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition (MBIC). Since then, the coalition has grown to more than 70 members, with many more expected to join in the coming months.
This event, hosted by the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber, will focus on how business leaders can make a positive impact on state and federal policies. Along with U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, speakers will include Jay Ash, CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, and Eva A. Millona, Executive Director of Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). Attendees will also hear directly from three small business owners about how immigration policies have impacted their ability to succeed.
“Our immigration system is broken, and it’s having a devastating impact on our work force and competitiveness, not just in our cities, but in suburban communities as well,” said Greg Reibman, President of the Newton-Needham Chamber. “The objective of this event – and the reason the chamber has joined the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition – is to advance policies that enable us to make the most of our region’s rich diversity and economic vitality.”
“We need sensible, practical policy solutions that strengthen the business environment and enable hard-working and talented people from around the world to succeed in Massachusetts,” said Thomas N. O'Brien, Managing Director of the HYM Investment Group and Co-Chair of MBIC.
The event will also include a discussion from the small business perspective, moderated by Andrew Tarsy, coordinator of MBIC, with three panelists:
- Reinier Moquete, CEO & Founder Advoqt Technologies, an entrepreneur and social justice champion. In addition to leading a cyber-security and data science technology company, he has created and led numerous adjacent initiatives driving access and inclusion into the innovation economy. Mr. Moquete has strong ties to the Dominican Republic, where he lived for long periods in his early life.
- Seana Gaherin, Owner of Dunn-Gaherins Pub & Restaurant. Ms. Gaherin has served as chair and Executive Committee member of the Newton-Needham Chamber and serves on the board of the Restaurant Business Alliance and advisory boards for Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and Needham Bank.
- Steve Stern, President and owner of FirstLight Home Care of West Suburban Boston, whose highly diverse work force provides companion care, personal care, and dementia care services to seniors, new mothers, or anyone needing help with daily tasks at home. Mr. Stern is also a founding member of the Massachusetts Executive Committee of the Home Care Association of America, the national industry trade group which represents non-medical home care providers.
This event is sold out but we are accepting names for a wait list. No walk-ins please.