Five communities join the Welcoming Economies Program

This past week, Welcoming America and Global Detroit concluded a competitive selection process to identify the next five communities to participate in the Welcoming Economies Program (WE) from March to February 2022. We are pleased announce the following participants: 

  • The City of Kirkland’s Economic Development and Civic Engagement Programs in the City Manager’s Office

  • The YWCA Tulsa in partnership with the City of Tulsa’s Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Equity

  • The City of Dallas’ Office of Welcoming Communities & Immigrant Affairs in partnership with the Office of Economic Development

  • Cincinnati Compass – Cincinnati Compass is a collaborative project of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the City of Cincinnati, the University of Cincinnati, more than 60 community partners and a growing list of investors who believe that immigrants are key contributors to a strong regional economy and a diverse, vibrant community. (Cincinnati, OH)

  • Many Languages One Voice – Many Languages One Voice (MLOV) works to foster leadership and provide tools for greater civic participation of immigrants in Washington, D.C. who do not speak English as their primary language in solutions that impact their lives. MLOV mobilizes the community to prompt systemic change to meet the goal of language justice in the District. (Washington, D.C.)

The participants were selected based on their demonstrated readiness and ability to spark meaningful change locally. As members of the Welcoming Network, they will work closely with the WE team at Welcoming America to advance economic inclusion of immigrants and contribute to local economic development efforts that impact all residents. 

“It’s exciting to see so many communities across the country prioritizing equitable economic development efforts with a racial equity lens that include immigrants and refugees. The Welcoming Economies program provide a space for these trusted community leaders to convene, learn from one another, and deepen the work they’ve already been engaged in. We are thrilled to work with our cohort and anticipate a year of success measured by specific, outcome-based goals,” said George Zavala, Western Regional Manager at Welcoming America

“The 2021 Welcoming Economies will focus on programs that are building new models to reach immigrant business owners and to encourage the growth and development of immigrant entrepreneurs. The group of communities participating in the Welcoming Economies program is diverse. It includes some communities, like Dallas, that have spent years developing a comprehensive welcoming plan and already made some significant strides to support immigrant business owners through COVID, while other communities are eager to launch their immigrant entrepreneurship programs as a valuable part of their ongoing welcoming efforts.

It is our hope that the peer learning model, focus on developing welcoming goals and ongoing one-on-one coaching will enable these communities to prosper by ensuring that immigrant businesses and entrepreneurs are part of an equitable recovery from the COVID downturn. I believe that we will see these five communities develop their programs in ways that will advance the field of welcoming economies such that communities across the nation are able to see the benefit of inclusive policies and are eager to adopt welcoming practices,” said  Steve Tobocman, Executive Director of Global Detroit.

At a time when immigrant-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with high closure rates and challenges accessing federal assistance, initiatives like Welcoming Economies will shore up immigrant entrepreneurs and business owners. The WE Program supports local leaders in advancing policies, programs, partnerships, and practices that include immigrants as part of their local or regional economic strategy.

Over the next year, the WE Program team and other national experts will provide participants with more than 23 hours of direct technical assistance, access to subject area experts, hands-on coaching, and peer learning opportunities.