Giving immigrants an economic boost

Name: Roberto Quijana

Title: Project Manager

City: Estación Central, Chile

Living in a country in the midst of an immigration boom — and backlash — Roberto Quijana understands the importance of giving immigrants a fair shot at economic success. Quijana works for the city of Estación Central, a suburb of Santiago where more than 20 percent of the 120,000 residents come from Venezuela, Haiti, and other countries. The project he manages, Red Glocal, has matched 128 immigrants to jobs with local employers. It also offers trainings for immigrant entrepreneurs to help grow businesses — many of them sell food or handmade goods. Already, the 30 people who have been through the program have grown their sales by an average of 80 percent. A grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies supports Quijana’s staff of six, who amplify their impact through collaboration with community partners. For example, they’re working closely with local employers to build support for hiring immigrants, and have teamed up with a pair of universities to provide technical assistance and legal help for immigrants. “In Chile, it’s not popular to have this close relationship with the immigrants,” Quijana said. “This project is about giving people coming here for a better life their best chance at success.”

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