This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed interviews Lindsay Milliken. Milliken underscores the current unprecedented combination of low unemployment and high job openings, particularly in sectors like hospitality, healthcare, and education. She addresses the vital role immigrants play in the workforce, and advocates for leveraging Schedule A, a regulation that expedites the green card process for occupations facing high labor demand. Milliken co-authored an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune that proposes updating Schedule A to reflect contemporary demands and streamline the immigration process, pointing to Utah as a positive example of state-level immigrant integration.

This week on Jobmakers, host Denzil Mohammed interviews Natalia Frois, a Brazilian immigrant and CEO of International Business Relations in Massachusetts. She discusses how she supports immigrants and Hispanic entrepreneurs by offering classes, resources, and English education, drawing on her trilingual skills and personal experience. Frois shares how her mission aids business success and community integration.

This week on Jobmakers, host Denzil Mohammed interviews Brad Brown, owner of Blue Frog Bakery in Jamaica Plain. Mr. Brown, an immigrant entrepreneur, discusses his arrival in the U.S., the founding and growth of Blue Frog Bakery, favorite products, community engagement, and the broader impact of immigration in their neighborhood and beyond.

The United States is built on all kinds of immigrants with all kinds of skills and experiences. While politicians might have us believe immigration is a divisive issue, the fact is Americans across the political spectrum agree at least on this: High-skilled immigrants are good for the country, and we need more of them. For Dr. Adam Ozimek, formerly of Moody’s Analytics and now Chief Economist at the Economic Innovation Group, a bipartisan public policy group in Washington D.C. working toward a more dynamic and inclusive economy, not only is immigration economic development itself, but immigration policy is also innovation policy.

Immigrants move for many reasons, and sometimes it can be a matter of life or death if they don’t uproot. But no matter where they’re from, they enrich the cultural landscape of this country while enjoying the freedom and protection the U.S. offers. Sebastian Corbat came to the U.S. for life-saving treatment, and post-op therapy gave him both a new lease on life and a business idea: We should all have access to healthy, organic and tasty foods. So Sebastian went about helping his communities eat healthily with the empanadas he grew up preparing in his mother’s kitchen.

The premise of this podcast is that immigrants are job makers. But does this bear out in the data? Prof. Benjamin F. Jones, former economic advisor in the U.S. Treasury and the White House and now Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the Kellog School of Management at Northwestern University, shows that not only do the data show that immigrants are far more likely to start a business in the U.S., they are also innovating at a higher rate that benefits the nation.

This week on JobMakers Denzil interviews Chening Duker, founder of GoodPluck, a farm-to-table delivery serivice that is transforming the lives of Michiganders and is enriched by Duker’s personal heritage and global perspective on organic agriculture.

Immigrants are adept at innovation: creating products and services that make life better for all Americans, and bringing their own cultures and practices to enrich their new homeland. For Miriam Kattumuri, immigrant from India and founder of Miriam’s Earthen Cookware, her innovation is a way to prevent cancers and other diseases, as well as conserve the environment by taking on the most basic tool to get food in our bodies: our pots and pans.

The immigration system in the United States is complex, to say the least. Visa categories for nearly every letter of the alphabet, exemptions, restrictions, rule changes with every new federal administration. We need more workers, innovators and entrepreneurs in an increasingly competitive world and amid an historic worker shortage and cash-strapped social safety systems due to a greying workforce. Does the United States’ immigration system work in its favor? For Erick Widman, immigration lawyer and founder of Passage Immigration Law in Portland, Oregon, it does not. 

Erick grew up in northern California and now lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and three kids. He attended UCLA and the University of California, Davis for law school. Prior to starting his own law practice in 2007, Erick was in-house counsel at Philips corporation in California for over three years where he handled various international and immigration legal issues. He spent a year teaching international law at the Budapest College of Economics and interned with a Superior Court judge. Erick has practiced law since 2004 and is a member of both the Oregon and California state bars. Because immigration law is a federal practice area, Erick is able to serve clients in any state in the U.S. and around the world. Erick is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Julianne Zimmerman, managing director at Reinventure Capital, lecturer on Social Entrepreneurship at Tufts University (and named to Forbes’ 2022 “50 Over 50” list). Julianne sees first-hand how immigrants collaborate with the U.S.-born to create meaningful inventions that solve real problems – but how rhetoric, policy, and an outdated system can shut them out. Julianne now heads a firm that invests solely in companies led and controlled by Black, Indigenous, people of color and female founders. She discusses why she believes it is crucial that we work together to bring about much-needed social and economic change, and resist efforts to close ourselves off – as you’ll hear in this week’s JobMakers.


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Joséphine Erni, Innovation Lead at Swissnex in Boston and New York, and immigrant from Switzerland. She explains how building collaborations between the highly entrepreneurial Swiss and the world’s biggest market, the U.S., gives rise to incredible innovations that benefit the world. She shares how Swissnex, the world’s first “science consulate,” has connected these two parts of the world in innovation, entrepreneurship, academia and the arts since 2000, as well as how they go about fostering collaborative ideas, research and businesses that mutually benefit both countries. She also emphasizes why being open to diversity brings creative solutions, as you’ll hear in this week’s JobMakers podcast.


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Joshua Bedi, child of an immigrant and postdoctoral researcher in entrepreneurship in the Department of Strategy and Innovation at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. He is the son of an immigrant who relocated from India to Jackson, Mississippi, and started a business. It was a simple neighborhood gas station, but also a symbol of what hardworking immigrants can do to boost innovation and business generation in host countries, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers podcast.


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Steve Tobocman, head of the economic development nonprofit Global Detroit, and one of the thousands of refugee business owners he’s assisted, Mamba Hamissi, Burundi native and co-founder of Baobab Fare, an East African restaurant. They discuss their work to harness the immigrant work ethic to rebuild Detroit and infuse it with life and culture. In the early 2000s, the city fell on hard times, when population loss and the economic downturn led to the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. But that’s where immigrants and refugees come in. As they’ve done for generations, immigrants move to places with affordable rents, and they often have few other options for earning an income than starting small businesses. It’s no wonder then that they have higher than average rates of entrepreneurship. We’ll learn about how a modest investment in a newcomer’s business can help lift up an entire community, in this week’s JobMakers podcast. 


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Sheetal Bahirat, founder and CEO of Hidden Gems Beverage Company, maker of Reveal Avocado Seed Brew, and immigrant from India. Food waste is an understudied and underutilized component of our daily lives with huge implications for our bodies and the planet – it is the number one contributor to climate change. Our featured immigrant entrepreneur, Sheetal, merged science with advocacy and created Hidden Gems Beverage Company to act on food waste in the most fruitful way possible, starting with one of America’s favorite fruits, the avocado. You’ll learn about her story and success, in today’s episode of Jobmakers.


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Patrick Anquetil, immigrant from France and co-founder and CEO of Portal Instruments in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a clinical stage, medical device company developing a needle-free drug delivery platform. As Patrick shares, there was no way he could have started a business like this in his home country. The spirit of entrepreneurship that we take as a given here in America does not exist everywhere; in many countries, taking risks to start a business is actually frowned upon. So, Patrick went to MIT, which he says gave him “a sense of great possibilities.” That freedom to innovate has led, in his case, to a transformative patient experience, something we can all appreciate. But it could only have been created in a place that fosters an entrepreneurial spirit in its people, new or old, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers podcast.


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Giovanni Ruscitti, son of immigrants from Italy; founding partner at the law firm of Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti in Boulder, Colorado; and author of the just-released Cobblestones, Conversations and Corks: A Son’s Discovery of His Italian Heritage. Giovanni shares his family story, of his grandparents being forced to leave the land they loved, coming to America with virtually nothing but a diligent work ethic, and how they were able to thrive and pave the way for his own success in entrepreneurship and job-making. Crucially, though, Giovanni explains that immigrants from all time periods, including today, bring value, innovation, culture, and strengths, and working alongside them builds up our communities for everyone’s benefit, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Liya Palagashvili, immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and affiliated research fellow at NYU Law. Dr. Palagashvili shares findings from research she co-authored on the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which fills the gap for international students between studying in the U.S. and being employed here through a work visa. The program enables America to retain talented students at just the time in their lives when they’re likely to generate ideas and start businesses, but recent legislation seeks to end the program. Dr. Palagashvili explains why such a move is counterproductive and even a national security threat. Instead, she argues, reforming and making it easier to access OPT would help enhance America’s edge in the global search for talent, and prevent that talent from moving to Canada, the U.K. and other countries – as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Josh Smith, research manager at The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University, about his work to demonstrate the outsized impact immigrants have on the economy and our culture. Josh describes some of the the negative narratives and the “othering” of immigrants, even though they’re part of our communities. Despite repeated fears that each new migrant group would never assimilate, America remains a “nation of immigrants,” and this is its not-so-secret sauce – as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Khamzat Asabaev, refugee from Chechnya and cofounder of SoftSmile, a software tool that helps dentists provide affordable, quality orthodontic treatment. Khamzat pursued entrepreneurship to make basic services accessible to all, after experiencing a lack of access to basic care as a refugee and a minority. Refugees like Khamzat face terrible circumstances, but through resilience and fortitude, often make significant contributions to their adopted homeland, with higher rates of employment and entrepreneurship. That means they give back far more than we gave them, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers.


This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with April Ryan, immigrant from Russia, founder and CEO of Red Iguana nail art products, and influencer to hundreds of thousands. April came to the U.S. from a poor town, speaking no English, but through tenacity and inventiveness, she achieved success by creating video tutorials of nail art, and developing a breakthrough product that became a bestseller in 19 countries. April’s story is the immigrant story, about the kind of people who embark on the journey to America, and then put their pluck and ingenuity to use for the benefit of everybody, as you’ll hear in this week’s JobMakers podcast.