Purpose Prize

Marc Freedman Portrait

The Latest from CoGenerate

Event Recording: Music Across Generations

Event Recording: Music Across Generations

Music can bring generations together for connection and collaboration, inspiration and celebration. Join us as we explore the power of cogeneration by learning more about an intergenerational orchestra, big band, and choir. This hour-long event features the Heart of...

The Best 13 Minutes You’ll Spend This Week

The Best 13 Minutes You’ll Spend This Week

Just after the Oscars, I wrote about The Last Repair Shop, the 2024 Academy Award-winning documentary about four older people who repair the 80,000 free musical instruments used by public school students in Los Angeles. It’s a beautiful film about a vital...

*

Anne O’Callaghan

Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
Purpose Prize Fellow 2011

An immigrant herself, O’Callaghan connects newcomers to the United States with training and jobs, reinvigorating the workforce.

As a volunteer at the Philadelphia Area Immigration Resource Center, Anne O’Callaghan saw that many immigrants’ needs – including learning English and finding well-paying jobs – weren’t being met.

She understood their plight, having emigrated from Ireland in 1970. O’Callaghan built a steady career as a physical therapist for 20 years, and later started a successful software firm for the home health care industry. She wanted to help immigrants achieve the same kind of stability and economic independence.

In 2003 she founded the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians (WCNP), which connects newly arrived individuals from around the world with economic opportunities. The center’s programs include job skills and language training, job placement, legal services, support for small and startup businesses, and resource referrals.

“The best preparation for succeeding in the American workplace is to be in the American workplace,” O’Callaghan says.

WCNP has served more than 8,000 immigrants from 140 countries, including placing some 1,100 in positions at 170 area companies. WCNP ranks first in job placement at 86.4 percent compared with other job training providers in the region, according to an analysis by the Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation.

Now overseeing 27 employees, O’Callaghan aims to expand to other states, including Illinois, Maryland and Nebraska.