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CU joins naturalization initiative to help Silicon Valley workers
SAN JOSE, Calif. (3/19/14)--Technology CU, San Jose, Calif., joined three other Silicon Valley companies in partnering with the Bethlehem Project Monday to assist employees holding legal-immigrant status achieve citizenship.

The Bethlehem project, in its first year of work as a pilot program that funds services for immigrants pursuing naturalization, will connect the $1.7 billion-asset credit union--and the other participating businesses--with local providers of legal assistance and citizenship test preparation, which they then will offer on-site to their employees at no cost.  

Nokia, ABM and DTZ in Silicon Valley round out the rest of the companies in the program.

"Immigration has shaped the landscape of Silicon Valley for the last century, and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future," said Barbara B. Kamm, Technology CU president/CEO. "It is one of the biggest influences on our businesses and economy, and one of the most important issues we face as a community."

Qualifying employees will receive a citizenship information session; free one-on-one citizen legal assistance; civics and English test preparation; and help submitting the N-400 citizen application.

About 385,000 legal immigrants who are eligible for citizenship live in Silicon Valley, according to a March 18 report by NPR.

Studies have shown "a clear economic advantage to becoming a citizen," the report said. "Immigrants who naturalize see at least a 5% hike in their wages and they can earn between 50% to 75% more than non-citizens."

So far, the Bethlehem Project has partnered with more than 50 businesses nationwide. This new San Jose-based program is funded by the New Americans Campaign, the Grove Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation.


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