Welcoming America designates the City of Charlotte as Certified Welcoming, first in the Southeast


DECATUR, GA (May 19, 2022) — Welcoming America announces today the City of Charlotte in North Carolina as Certified Welcoming, the first in the state and in the southeast U.S. region.

The announcement is taking place at the Welcoming Interactive annual conference at the Westin Charlotte, which is being hosted by Welcoming America in partnership with the City of Charlotte.

Rachel Perić, executive director of Welcoming America, said, “We are pleased to congratulate the City of Charlotte and its many partners on achieving the designation of Certified Welcoming. As the second largest city in the Southeast, Charlotte’s work serves as a model for creating an environment that celebrates and invests in residents from around the globe as a point of pride, signaling a strong commitment to the connection between economic vitality and a community in which everyone can thrive and belong.”

“Charlotte’s immigrants make incredible economic and cultural contributions to our city,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “We take pride in celebrating the diversity of our community, and we are proud to officially be certified as a welcoming city. We will continue to work hard so that residents know that all are welcome here.”

Certified Welcoming is a formal designation by Welcoming America for cities and counties that have created policies and programs reflecting their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion. Since launching in 2017, Certified Welcoming and its operating framework, the Welcoming Standard, have served as a roadmap for local governments seeking to build truly welcoming communities. Currently, there are 15 Certified Welcoming places, including Charlotte.

The process to become Certified Welcoming takes several years and requires a multisector effort involving not only the mayor’s office, but also local organizations, law enforcement agencies, the education sector, and more.

For Charlotte, highlights include improved language access policies, workforce development opportunities for immigrants, and strengthened connections with community based organizations.

As states across the country continue to resettle refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine, and other nations, North Carolina — including the city of Charlotte — are among the destinations for resettlement, with around 20,000 refugees having settled in the state in the past 10 years.

According to the 2020 census, 17.2% of Charlotte’s residents were born in another country. In a 2017 report by New American Economy, immigrants in the city and surrounding Mecklenburg County were found to contribute $16 billion to the county’s gross domestic product (or 14.6% of the total county GDP); 16.4% of the businesses based in the county were owned by immigrants.


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.

About 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.

About the City of Charlotte

The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 870,000 residents. The city’s priorities are workforce and business development; transportation, planning and the environment; safe communities; and great neighborhoods. Charlotte is No. 6 on U.S. News & World Report’s 150 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2020-21. For the latest news and updates about city government, visit the citywide newsroom at charlottenc.gov/newsroom, and follow @CLTgov on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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