certified welcoming | Welcoming America

Category: certified welcoming

City of Erie, PA latest to join Certified Welcoming places in America

Welcoming America | November 18, 2020

Welcoming America is pleased to announce the City of Erie's achievement in becoming Certified Welcoming, joining just 10 other communities in America that can call themselves truly welcoming places.
 
"Welcoming America applauds the City of Erie for its strong efforts to build a welcoming environment to fuel economic growth and upward mobility for all residents,” said Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America. “With the high attention garnered by Pennsylvania during the recent presidential election, Erie demonstrates how local leaders can now set the tone for an inclusive community that draws upon trust and cooperation among racially and ethnically diverse residents to build a better future for all.”
 
The Certified Welcoming program is run and administered by Welcoming America, a national nonprofit organization that aims to build a nation of neighbors by fostering welcoming communities.
 
In the recent presidential election, Erie County, PA was among the municipalities that helped Democratic candidate Joe Biden win Pennsylvania’s critical electoral college votes, after it had previously voted in favor of Donald Trump in 2016. Pennsylvania’s votes ultimately led to Biden’s victory.
 
If I accomplished nothing else as a mayor, I want to eliminate racism and prejudice in Erie,” says Mayor Joseph Schember. “So every member of the Erie community is welcomed and accepted. I believe in the talents and gifts that everyone possesses. If we accomplished that, we can not even imagine what an incredible city Erie would be.”
 
This certification means that we have achieved a goal but we also have new goals to achieve, including making sure that Erie is a welcoming place for all of our residents, including Black Americans, Latinos, and the next wave of newcomers who will bring their talents to Erie and carry forth this commitment to be a welcome place for all,” says Councilwoman Liz Allen.
 
To become Certified Welcoming, the City of Erie completed an intensive evaluation led by the New American Liaison, Niken Astari Carpenter. Local policies and programs were compared to the comprehensive Welcoming Standard that covers community investments from education to economic development to policing.
 
“We look forward to partnering with the City in their efforts to grow a more vibrant and inclusive economy. This effort will give us critical information on our valuable human capital. It will also give us access to a global network of experts who can help us grow in our efforts to become a more welcoming economy,” says Amy Murdock, Director of Government Affairs, Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership. “At the Chamber, we are challenging ourselves to be more inclusive. To us, this means acknowledging minority business leaders for their talents and expertise first and foremost. Second to this, just as any business leader, is respectfully recognizing unique challenges to growth.”
 
In Erie, and many communities with similar demographics, immigrants have made significant contributions to local economies and neighborhoods, with immigrant-owned businesses employing nearly six million workers nationally. Immigrants-owned businesses also play an outsize role in revitalizing neighborhoods through entrepreneurship, reversing population decline, and homeownership. According to research published by New American Economy, immigrants in Erie County, PA pay $61 million annually in taxes and have a spending power of $170 million. 

“I am happy and excited that the City of Erie is now a Certified Welcoming city. I believe that everyone’s voice needs to be heard. I have been an Erie resident for 15 years. Erie became my home, a place where I was able to get a job, buy a house, to raise my children, to give them a good education and medical care, and to be able to care for my elderly parents. Erie gave me the opportunity to give back to the community and be a proud citizen. I appreciate the opportunity to be a member of the New American Council and to share my experience as I continue to serve as an advocate for refugees and immigrants in the City of Erie," says Anna Tischenko. 

Says Ammarah Asad, another Erie resident: “I believe representation matters. Serving on this platform and having access to the New American Council, I think of myself as a resource, linking my community and the city, and I feel that I am guaranteed an opportunity to give back. Having Erie certified as a welcoming city opens doors for diversity, equality, and a safer environment for the new Americans to live and raise their families in a welcoming atmosphere. I’m proud of my city and people behind this goal.”   

More Information

 

What is Certified Welcoming? 

The Certified Welcoming program launched in 2017 by Welcoming America to establish a formal designation for cities and counties that have taken action on their commitment to welcoming and met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard. Certified Welcoming communities gain a competitive advantage by using their designation for attracting and retaining a global workforce and businesses whose values align with welcoming and inclusion. Participants complete a rigorous independent audit to evaluate their compliance with the Standard. Both Certified Welcoming and the Welcoming Standard were designed following standards set by ISEAL

What is Welcoming America?

Welcoming America is a nonpartisan, national nonprofit that leads a growing movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by helping everyone know they belong. We provide a roadmap and support for places to reduce barriers to full participation and build bridges between immigrants and long-time residents through direct contact and dialogue. 

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Media Contacts

For City of Erie, PA: Frank Strumila, Media and Innovation Strategist, [email protected], 814-870-1202

For Welcoming America: Lola Pak, Director of Communications, [email protected], 470-236-0129

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Announcing Baltimore City & Montgomery County as Certified Welcoming

Welcoming America | June 22, 2020

In these unprecedented times of both a pandemic and national conversation on racism, the need for communities to translate welcoming values into policies and practices that create more inclusive environments is greater than ever.

That is why we are pleased to announce the newest additions to the growing list of Certified Welcoming places in the United States: the City of Baltimore and Montgomery County, both located in Maryland.

With these places, there are now 10 cities and counties in the U.S. that are Certified Welcoming. Communities that are Certified Welcoming capitalize on the power of inclusive policies and culture to ensure all residents—including immigrants—contribute, participate, and thrive. Certification builds a competitive advantage and access to opportunities on a regional, national, and global stage.

According to research by New American Economy, immigrants comprised 15% of Maryland’s residents in 2014, to a total of 886,650 residents. More than 120,000 people across the state are employed by immigrant-owned businesses. As of 2014, immigrants held more than $24.6 billion in spending power. In Montgomery County, one-third of all residents are foreign-born; in the City of Baltimore, immigrants helped stem a declining population in 2018.

“We congratulate the City of Baltimore and Montgomery County on becoming Certified Welcoming places,” said Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America. “By becoming Certified Welcoming, leaders in both places are demonstrating their long-term commitment to ensuring that the racial and ethnic diversity of Maryland is not only celebrated, but that new and longtime residents alike are active participants in the civic, social and economic fabric of the places they call home. ” 

Both the City of Baltimore and Montgomery County completed an intensive evaluation earlier this year to earn the Certified Welcoming designation. Local policies and programs were compared to the comprehensive Welcoming Standard that covers community investments from education to economic development to emergency response. The Gilchrist Community Resource Center and the Office of Community Partnerships led the certification process in Montgomery County and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs led the process in the City of Baltimore.

What is Certified Welcoming?
The Certified Welcoming establishes a formal designation for cities and counties that have taken action on their commitment to welcoming and met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard. Participants complete a rigorous, independent audit to evaluate their compliance with the Standard. Both Certified Welcoming and the Welcoming Standard were designed following standards set by ISEAL. 

What is the Welcoming Standard? 
The Welcoming Standard captures the core of what it means to be an inclusive community. Developed in collaboration with local governments, advocates, diverse set of experts, and with input from the public at large, the Standard provides a comprehensive roadmap for immigrant inclusion. The Welcoming Standard addresses a range of essential policies, programs, and partnerships, from language access to hiring practices.

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For Media Inquiries:
Lola Pak, Director of Communications
Welcoming America
[email protected]
470-236-0129

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Dayton, Ohio, announced as first Certified Welcoming Community in United States

| September 13, 2017

Dayton, Ohio...Welcoming America is pleased to congratulate Dayton, Ohio, for achieving the status of Certified Welcoming, the first city in the United States to earn the merit. Dayton announced the achievement at a City Commission meeting today.

“We are proud of the recognition Dayton has earned as being the first Certified Welcoming city in the country. This recognition affirms to the country what we have known in Dayton—our community is a welcoming place for everyone who chooses to make it home,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. 
 
Immigrants are helping to reverse Dayton’s population decline and make significant contributions to the local economy. According to research published by New American Economy, between 2009-2013, foreign-born households in Dayton contributed more than $15 million in state and local taxes and had more than $115 million in spending power.
 
“Communities like Dayton offer an alternative to the divisive rhetoric around immigration and show how inclusion is good for our economy, neighborhoods, and future. Certified Welcoming is the first of its kind initiative to identify the standard for other communities that want to follow this growing trend and show that they are welcoming not only in word, but in deed,” said David Lubell, Executive Director of Welcoming America. 

Immigrants make significant contributions to local economies and neighborhoods across the United States, and immigrant-owned businesses employ nearly six million workers nationally. Immigrants-owned businesses also play an outsize role in revitalizing neighborhoods through entrepreneurship, reversing population decline, and homeownership

Communities that become Certified Welcoming capitalize on the power of immigrants to energize their neighborhoods, economy, and culture. Certification builds a competitive advantage and gain access to opportunities to be recognized and share integration practices on a regional, national, and global stage.

“This distinction provides further proof that the Welcome Dayton initiative has been impactful for our community, creating a climate that encourages the social and economic empowerment of all of our citizens. The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to the continued growth and vibrancy of the Dayton region, and this recognition supports those efforts in a big way,” said Phillip L. Parker, President & CEO, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Dayton completed an intensive evaluation to earn the Certified Welcoming evaluation, led by the Welcome Dayton initiative.  Local policies and programs were compared to  the comprehensive Welcoming Standard that covers community investments from  education to economic development to policing.

“Knowing Dayton is a Certified Welcoming City makes me excited to raise my family here. The certification demonstrates that the culture and diversity I bring to the community is not only valued but also considered when making decisions,” said Yonathan Kebede, Welcome Dayton committee member and Dayton resident.

What is Certified Welcoming?  Welcoming America launched the Certified Welcoming program in April 2017 to establish a formal designation for cities and counties that have taken action on their commitment to welcoming and met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard. Participants complete a rigorous independent audit to evaluate their compliance with the Standard. Both Certified Welcoming and the Welcoming Standard were designed following standards set by ISEAL

What is the Welcoming Standard? The Welcoming Standard captures the core of what it means to be an inclusive community. Developed in collaboration with local governments, advocates, and diverse experts, and with input from the public at large, the Standard provides a comprehensive roadmap for immigrant inclusion. The Welcoming Standard addresses a range of essential policies, programs, and partnerships, from language access to hiring practices. Explore the Welcoming Standard.

Does your community have what it takes to be Certified Welcoming?

 

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