Friday, October 7, 2011

Celebrating citizenship

HONORING AMERICANS: Firth, center, with, from left, Ronnie Sanders, director, Partners Community Health; Francois Joachim, new citizen and lead transport, Transport Service Department, Newton-Wellesley Hospital; Gary Gottlieb, MD, president and CEO, Partners HealthCare; Lawrence Fish, trustee, The Fish Family Foundation; Jerry Rubin, CEO, JVS; and Dennis Colling, vice president, Partners Human Resources

THANKS TO a new collaborative workforce development program between the Partners Human Resources and Community Health departments, the Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), and The Fish Family Foundation, several MGH staff can now officially call the United States “home.”

Through the Employee Citizenship Program, more than 30 MGH employees have become U.S. citizens. The program, free to eligible employees and their family members, is designed to make the process of attaining citizenship easier through test preparation classes. Paul Firth, MBChB, anesthesiologist at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, is one of the program’s most recent success stories. The South African native shared his story during a Sept. 26 ceremony celebrating program participants.

Firth came to the United States 14 years ago to complete his residency, but it was during his volunteer work aboard the U.S. Navy ship Comfort after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that he decided to become a citizen. “I was so impressed with the efforts by the United States to quickly mobilize broad and deep disaster relief efforts, and I witnessed such an enormous outpouring of care and support demonstrated by my colleagues at the hospital and many other people in this country – it crystallized the idea of U.S. citizenship for me,” he said.

To be eligible for the Employee Citizenship Program, participants must have a green card or an equivalent, be a permanent resident for at least five years, be moderately proficient in English and pay the fee for the application for naturalization. For more information, contact Adam Cutler, manager of Workplace Training at JVS, at 617-399-3260.

Read more articles from the 10/7/11 Hotline issue.


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