Akron, Ohio Takes BIG Step to Become an Immigrant-Friendly City

Posted by Richard Herman, Immigration Lawyer

Congrats to the Mayor of Akron, the Summit County Exec, & Prez of U of A for helping to LEAD the efforts on immigrant inclusion & economic development. At the Welcoming Summit yesterday, hosted by the International Institute of Akron on the beautiful campus of the University of Akron, 250 civic, government, academic and business leaders attended the day-long Welcoming Summit. This is just the beginning, but it represents a major milestone and accomplishment.

Led by Elaine Woloshyn, Director of the International Institute, and Michelle Wilson, Director of Global Ties in Akron, the City of Akron and Summit County applied for and received a national grant to help lead the efforts to bring the community together around this issue and TOGETHER come up with a plan. Funds were raised locally and donated by local foundations and governments, and were matched by the Partnership for a New Economy (Bloomberg/Murdoch) and Welcoming America.

Representatives from Partnership for a New Economy presented yesterday, and indicated that of the 20 cities around the country that received the grant, the gathering yesterday in Akron was the largest — signifying the community commitment and momentum! Of the 20 cities that received grants, only 5 received matching grants from the Partnership. Akron was one of the 5.

Yesterday, Elaine Woloshyn also announced that soon the International Institute would be moving and would be restructuring to become something similar to the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians in Philly. As many of you know, the Welcome Center in Philly, founded by friend Ann O’Callaghan (who spoke at the Cleveland City Club many years ago), is THE example of how a non-profit organization can LEAD this discussion in the community and CATALYZE numerous other projects that leverage immigration for local economic growth while maintaining our commitment to build an inclusive, one community.

Building on its Global Business Accelerator, the Global Village Festival, the influx of Bhutanese and other refugees in the North Hill neighborhood, the 1,400 international students at U of A, Akron is truly striving to be a Global City and a welcoming city for all.

I am proud of my friends in the Rubber City.