Revamped Certified Welcoming program includes star designations, new criteria
Welcoming America is pleased to announce the second iteration of the Certified Welcoming program, its signature program that recognizes U.S. cities, towns, and counties for their welcoming policies and programs.
Certified Welcoming is introducing a star designation system that will allow more communities to achieve one of five star designations under the Welcoming Standard version 2.0. Welcoming America’s new resource details changes to the Certified Welcoming program and the Welcoming Standard criteria that underpin the designation.
Launched in 2017, Certified Welcoming is an innovative program that assesses local governments on their efforts to include and welcome immigrants and refugees in all areas of civic, social, and economic life. To earn a designation of Certified Welcoming, local governments must meet the Welcoming Standard — a comprehensive roadmap for building truly welcoming communities.
Rachel Perić, executive director of Welcoming America, reflects, “We are thrilled to be expanding Certified Welcoming to support and recognize more U.S. cities, towns, and counties at the forefront of building welcoming communities where all residents — including people with immigrant and refugee backgrounds — can thrive and belong. We're grateful to the many stakeholders and partners who helped shape our new Welcoming Standard. Together, we are working toward a vision where every community prioritizes inclusion, equity, and belonging and harnesses the potential of all residents to drive economic prosperity and a stronger democracy.”
With a Certified Welcoming designation, communities distinguish their local efforts and gain access to opportunities to share their welcoming practices nationally and globally. To date, more than two dozen communities in the United States have undertaken the rigorous process to become Certified Welcoming.
Melissa Bertolo, senior director of Certified Welcoming, says, “We designed the star designation system to ensure that communities of all sizes and resources have a chance to achieve the designation of Certified Welcoming. As more communities become Certified Welcoming, we are excited to measure progress toward immigrant equity as more places invest in welcoming infrastructure locally.”
A set of criteria from the updated Welcoming Standard is tailored to each Certified Welcoming star designation. The Welcoming Standard 2.0 also includes several new criteria that better reflect the wide range of institutions and policies that influence day-to-day life in local communities.
Three communities — the City of Champaign, Illinois; the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma; and San Mateo County, California — piloted the updated program and Welcoming Standard. The pilot communities shared feedback about the certification process and new Welcoming Standard criteria that informed the revamped program design.
An announcement about the updated Certified Welcoming program and Welcoming Standard was shared in late April with over 600 attendees at the 2023 Welcoming Interactive in San José, California.
The Certified Welcoming program is now accepting applications from local governments interested in certification. A webinar series beginning on May 17, 2023 will explain the process and commitment it takes to become Certified Welcoming.
Find more information about the changes to the Certified Welcoming program and Welcoming Standard in Become a Welcoming Community: Guide to Achieving the Certified Welcoming Designation Under the Welcoming Standard Version 2.0.
About Certified Welcoming
Certified Welcoming is a formal designation for local governments that have created policies and programs reflecting their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion. This innovative program assesses local governments on their efforts to include and welcome immigrants in all areas of civic, social, and economic life in their communities. With a Certified Welcoming designation, communities distinguish their local efforts, build a competitive advantage, and gain access to opportunities to share their welcoming practices on a regional, national, and global stage. Learn more at certifiedwelcoming.org.
About Welcoming America
Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. We believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors and vital to the success of our communities and shared future. Learn more at welcomingamerica.org.
Lola Pak, [email protected]