Leigh Jorento, contract manager for the Resettlement Programs Office in the Children and Family Services Administration, joined the Department of Human Services in 2018. She ensures grantees comply with federal funding rules and regulations, provides administrative and financial reviews, and participates in the office’s program development activities.
Jorento recently worked on a project with the refugee resettlement agencies in Minnesota to shine a positive light on refugees’ and immigrants’ contributions to the United States and correct misinformation about refugees and immigrants.
“The project focuses on how we frame information about refugees, ensuring that we are providing a holistic picture of all the ways people with refugee status contribute to Minnesota, including their positive economic impact,” Jorento said.
She arrived in the United States with her parents and siblings in the early 1980s. Her ethnic Chinese family lived under Communist Vietnam for several years, until it became clear that either they would be banished to the new economic zones or they must escape. They chose the latter.
After spending some time in several Malaysian and then Indonesian refugee camps, her family was sponsored by a Baptist church in Michigan to immigrate to the United States. Similar to other refugees’ experience, Jorento’s family started to rebuild their lives in America with just the clothes on their backs.
Jorento is a first-generation college graduate, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese studies with a minor in mathematics from the University of Michigan.