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

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?