Now more than ever, connections are critical to personal and professional success. Thanks to technology, we can meet and collaborate with colleagues near and far to solve problems and get results.
That’s the spirit behind the St. Louis Mosaic Project, a regional initiative of the World Trade Center-St. Louis and the people component in the World Trade Center’s formula for making St. Louis a competitive region: Businesses trading goods/services; investment from foreign company; and people/talent choosing to call St. Louis home.
In fact, Mosaic’s goal is to transform St. Louis into the fastest growing U.S. metropolitan area for immigration by 2025 for economic growth. They do that by making professional and social connections for foreign-born individuals who relocate to St. Louis for their careers or to study. Since its inception in 2012, Mosaic has developed programs that connect foreign-born newcomers to mentors and resources that help them adapt and succeed. Two programs are connection “super stars” in our new, virtual world.
The first, Professional Connectors, has linked more than 280 foreign-born professionals to St. Louis based professionals in similar industries to jump-start networking for the newcomer and provide guidance as they move toward their next career step. The initial Connector introduces them to others and so on. We know that dozens of these individuals have, over time, landed jobs that might not have been possible without those initial “warm” introductions.
The second program, launched in December 2020, is for international students studying at one of the regional universities with which Mosaic partners to offer resources so international students can network toward OPT. Mosaic learned that these St. Louis-based students were feeling especially isolated because of shelter-in-place policies. Enter Zoom Pals—a program based on the traditional pen pal idea matching one international student with one Mosaic Ambassador (individuals who volunteer their time to be welcoming to foreign-born newcomers) who arrange between themselves, regular virtual meetings.
One participating student said, “My zoom pal has helped me understand more of what I want to do in the future. It’s great to see how one person can open so many doors of opportunities.”
That is music to our ears as we start the New Year with renewed focused on creating more meaningful connections for foreign-born newcomers to St. Louis that will lead to success. Click here for more information about these programs and the St. Louis Mosaic Project.