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Budget creates Office of New Americans


By Andrew Carden
Staff writer

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The Office of New Americans will provide legal permanent New York state residents who don’t have formal education with access to job training and adult education. Photo by AP.
April 09, 2012
The 2012-2013 New York state budget establishes an Office of New Americans to assist legal permanent residents in participating in the state's economy and civic life.

The new office, created within the Department of State, will focus on promoting U.S. citizenship and civil involvement, expanding access to English language education services and bolstering business opportunities for new American business owners.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been pushing for the office's creation since his State of the State Address in January. Then, he suggested the office would "assist the many legal permanent residents eager to contribute to our economy and become part of the family of New York."

"We must live up to the promise of the Lady in our Harbor and ensure New York remains a land of opportunity for all," said Cuomo. "When new New Yorkers prosper, we all prosper. When they succeed, we all succeed. We are not afraid of immigrants in New York, because we are immigrants and children of immigrants, and we know how much they contribute to the state."

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For residents with high skills training and experience, the office will provide assistance in obtaining credentials and licenses they need to land fitting jobs. For those without such formal education, the office will provide access to job training and adult education.

"It will also help them by encouraging entrepreneurship," said Cuomo. "It will take steps to protect new Americans as they transition to full participation in New York's communities."

Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella advocacy group of nearly 200 member organizations, said she is encouraged by the governor's efforts on the office's creation.

"If done well, this new office could bring immigrants more effectively into overall New York state plans to revitalize the economy and help our state capitalize on the human resource potential of immigrants throughout New York," said Hong. "We look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature on this and other ideas for positive change, such as an increase in the minimum wage, campaign finance reform and equal access to financial aid for all immigrant students."

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