GlobalPittsburgh Director of Marketing and Study Pittsburgh Initiative has been named to Mayor Bill Peduto’s 40-member Welcoming Pittsburgh Advisory Council, whose work will shape the city’s immigrant attraction and retention activities over the next three years, it was announced today.

Launched on May 28, Welcoming Pittsburgh is a citywide initiative designed to celebrate the city’s immigrant past and build a more welcoming future. The first step in its implementation is a 40-member advisory council that will determine Welcoming Pittsburgh’s work over the coming years.

“We are a stronger city, enriched with greater cultural and economic opportunity, when we create avenues that are accessible and welcoming to all of our residents — whether they have lived here for generations or are migrating to Pittsburgh for the very first time,” Peduto said. “The Welcoming Pittsburgh Advisory Council will lay the groundwork for greater immigrant integration.”

Buell also served on the Mayor’s transition committee after Peduto was elected last November. He chaired the Global City subcommittee which made several recommendations about ways to help the city and its residents become more globally aware and realize the benefits associated with the city’s growing international prominence.

The advisory council’s main task over the next six months will be working with a facilitator to write a long-term and sustainable Welcoming Pittsburgh implementation plan. That plan will include efforts to engage both existing Pittsburgh residents and new ones, and synthesize welcoming practices into city government and its partners in local business, nonprofit and community groups.

The roadmap will seek to improve efficiencies by identifying overlapping practices offered by different stakeholders in the community, and highlight opportunities for the Mayor’s Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment to build a model for creating a more welcoming experience for immigrants in Pittsburgh.

“Communities that successfully encourage welcoming practices for immigrants foster welcoming environments for all residents,” said Nonprofit & Faith-Based Manager Betty Cruz. “When we spoke with cities across the country to learn from their lessons it was clear that an important first step is to form a guiding council that will develop recommendations that make sense for our city.”

The council was selected out of more than 100 candidates who applied through a public online process. Those invited to participate share a wide range of perspectives including both direct and indirect experience with the diverse needs immigrants face. The council also represents a variety of skillsets ranging from executives in finance, law, and academia to individuals working on the frontlines on issues such as labor, human services, and community development.

The grant will also fund community conversations across the city and the production of marketing materials that the Bureau will use to build awareness for Welcoming Pittsburgh and the impact of immigrants in the city for its first three years.

The city has issued a Request For Proposals to hire a facilitator. The RFP is available here.

Terms on the voluntary council will end upon delivery of the implementation plan in roughly six months. After that period those interested will be asked to serve as Welcoming Pittsburgh ambassadors who will help implement plans for the initiative. The hiring of the facilitator and awareness-building materials for the first year of the initiative is underwritten with a $50,000 grant from the Hillman Family Foundations.

To see a list of Advisory Council members, click here.

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The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians receives $692,000 from Knight Foundation and The Barra Foundation to launch Immigrant Professionals Career Pathways Program

PHILADELPHIA —August 19, 2014— The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians today announced a program that will allow eligible immigrants to reestablish their professional careers by helping them secure industry credentials. The Philadelphia-based program is supported by $412,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and $280,000 from The Barra Foundation.

The nonprofit Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 32,000 underutilized immigrant professionals in Pennsylvania. Many live in the Philadelphia region. These individuals have college or graduate degrees from abroad, but are often employed here in low-wage jobs that do not draw on their education and skills.

“We are thrilled that this funding will both expand our services for ambitious newcomers and help fill a need for these professionals in our region,” said Peter Gonzales, president and CEO of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. “People who were doctors or engineers in their home countries often have to navigate complex pathways in order to return to their professions; our new Immigrant Professionals Career Pathways Program will assist them in that process.”

“Philadelphia is increasingly attracting young, motivated talent from around the country and the world—but we must pursue more opportunities to keep that talent here,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Knight Foundation program director for Philadelphia. “This new program will help do just that by opening new economic and leadership opportunities to established professionals that have the skills to contribute to a better future for our city.”

The Welcoming Center’s new program will help skilled immigrants with lawful status in the United States find training and jobs in Philadelphia in their fields of expertise. The program will guide these professionals in obtaining certification, finding transitional jobs and connecting with others in their fields through social and professional networks.

Support for these projects forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to expand opportunities in Philadelphia, while fostering talent retention and attraction. Since 1970 Knight Foundation has invested more than $100 million in Philadelphia’s vitality.

The Barra Foundation’s grant reflects its commitment to supporting organizations in their efforts to test significant new approaches to their work. By funding problem-solving initiatives such as the Welcoming Center’s, Barra seeks to drive positive change across Greater Philadelphia.

About the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians 

The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians is a nonprofit economic development organization based in Philadelphia. Founded in 2003, the agency has served more than 11,000 people from 140 countries worldwide. The Welcoming Center’s services include education and training, employment and entrepreneurship. Learn more at http://www.welcomingcenter.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation 

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit http://www.KnightFoundation.org.

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About The Barra Foundation 

The Barra Foundation invests in innovation to inspire change that strengthens communities in the Greater Philadelphia region. It provides approximately $4 million in grants annually that are focused on supporting innovation in and across the fields of Arts & Culture, Education, and Health and Human Services. For more, visit http://www.BarraFoundation.org.

Global Great Lakes Network Convening ’14

It’s proving to be a busy year for Welcome Dayton staff and advocates! The city’s immigrant welcoming initiative continues to gain recognition from and collaborate with other organizations attempting to make their cities, regions, states and our nation more immigrant-friendly.

This month, Dayton City Commissioner and Welcome Dayton Committee Chair Matt Joseph will pay a visit to Washington, D.C. as he shares best practices and learns new ideas for immigrant integration during a special White House panel. The following day, Melissa Bertolo will also be in D.C. for a presentation to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with other representatives of immigrant-friendly programs and businesses for a presentation entitled “Open for Business: Spurring Local Economic Growth by Welcoming Immigrants.

These two appearances are just the latest opportunities Welcome Dayton advocates have had to influence immigration efforts beyond Dayton.

  • Program Coordinator Melissa Bertolo and Welcome Dayton champion Tom Wahlrab attended the Welcoming America Conference in Atlanta, GA. Both presented on the topics of community engagement and community-wide plans.
  • Global Detroit Director Steve Tobocman recently paid a visit to Buffalo, NY, for the Congress for the New Urbanism gathering to present on “A Global Great Lakes: Immigrants & Urbanism.” While there, Steve sat in roundtable discussions and collaboration meetings with Welcome Dayton and the International Institute of Buffalo. Learn more about this trip here and here.
  • Finally, Welcome Dayton joined other welcoming programs in Pittsburgh for the Global Great Lakes Network Convening. Melissa spoke on a panel with Al Heggins from High Point, NC and Leslie Aizenman from Pittsburgh, PA entitled, “Working Across Sectors to advance Immigrant Integration.” The discussion was moderated by Susan Downs-Karkos of Welcoming America.

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Congratulations to all of those who participated in, spoke at, donated to, attended, and supported the Global Great Lakes Network’s Second Convening this past June 11-13 in Pittsburgh. With well over 200 attendees, speeches by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald, iGate’s Sunil Wadhwani, and American Immigration Council’s Ben Johnson the event was inspiring and provided great examples of best practices on economic development programs focusing on immigrants in the Rust Belt and across the country.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend or wanted to read about how the Convening was viewed by Pittsburgh media, you can read several media stories on the Convening here. In addition to tackling the issue of African-American and immigrant issues, the Convening looked at Nashville’s immigrant welcoming success, micro-enterprise, international students, skilled immigrant integration, municipal services, ethnic media, federal immigration reform, and how to start successful local immigrant economic development initiatives.

Participant surveys from the Convening reveal that 93% agree that developing the Global Great Lakes Network will be useful to their work; 89% will attend a similar Convening in the future; 82% know other people who would be interesting in attending a future Convening; and 82% are interested in online content similar to the content provided at the Convening.

The second day of the Convening was a working session for local organizations to develop a Network work plan, steering committee, geographic footprint, and name. The group voted to define the region as 10 states (MN, WI, IL, IA, MO, IN, OH, MI, PA, and NY—see map above) and to allow local efforts outside the footprint who meet certain to-be-finalized characteristics (declining population, smaller immigrant population than national average, sluggish economic recovery, etc.) to participate in the Network. The group also voted to have Welcoming America serve as the organizational home for the Network, while having Welcoming America contract with Global Detroit and other outside groups for staffing.

Again, a huge round of thanks to Vibrant Pittsburgh, GlobalPittsburgh, Global Detroit, and Welcoming America for their work in pulling the Convening together and to our sponsors—Knight Foundation, Benedum Foundation, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Pittsburgh Foundation, welcome.us, Quicken Loans, Cohen & Grigsby, Community College of Allegheny County, Fragomen, and the Dignity & Respect Campaign of Greater Pittsburgh.

 

REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

All interested parties are invited to attend the second convening of the Global Great Lakes Network, which will be held June 12, 2014 in Pittsburgh. This important event will feature the sharing ideas and best practices that promote immigrant attraction as an economic development opportunity.  We will continue to build on our work over the past year and grow our network, and we look forward to your participation! There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.

The day-long public conference will kick-off with remarks from Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. The main themes of the event will be attracting and retaining immigrants to the region to enhance opportunities for overall economic growth, and also on ways to connect those newcomers with the local population, especially underserved communities.

A screening of the film Transfusion, about connecting immigrant and African-American communities in Columbus, Ohio, will take place in the evening, to which the public is also invited. See the registration form for details. A working session for Global Great Lakes Network participants will be held in Friday, June 13.

For a complete agenda of the June 12 event, including speakers, CLICK HERE

REGISTER NOW

*Currently space is limited to 220 participants and may be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

Travel and lodging information can be found here.  Check back for updates.

We look forward to your attendance!

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ImageThe second annual convening of the Global Great Lakes Network will be held in Pittsburgh, PA, June 12-13, 2014, bringing together representatives of cities and organizations in the upper midwestern region working on immigrant-related economic development initiatives.

The highlight of the Pittsburgh Global Great Lakes convening will be a day-long public conference on June 12 featuring presentations by regional and national leaders in the fields of economic development, education, high-tech, healthcare, government and social services to share their success stories and encourage discussion of next steps. A working session of Global Great Lakes Network participants will be held on June 13. The event will be hosted locally by Vibrant Pittsburgh and GlobalPittsburgh, with coordination assistance from Global Detroit.

With immigrant-driven economic development at the center of America’s political radar screen,  this event is sure to draw national and international media attention, which will be actively pursued with clear, consistent messaging that will focus attention on positive developments in the region’s cities, as well as on the challenges still surrounding the issue of immigrant attraction and retention.

Watch this space for additional details and registration information.

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One of our Global Great Lakes Initial Convening participants, Global Lansing, is a network of people who care about making the city of Lansing a welcoming community to international people.

The Global Lansing Initiative is the collaborative effort of the groups Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP),  Prima Civitas Foundation, Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, Michigan State University, DTN Management, Lansing Community College, Meridian Township, City of East Lansing, City of Lansing, Lansing Regional Sister Cities Commission and others, to utilize the valuable international resources and talent available in the greater Lansing area including international students, businesses and international relationships.

Check out Global Lansing‘s new video!

“By going global, and by being internationally friendly, I think we will open up opportunities that have previously been blind to us.”

 

“Our greatest asset is this international student population – we have a tremendous opportunity to leverage these individuals who come here for education, and get them to stay and infuse their talent into our current talent base.”

Learn more about Global Lansing here.

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