The growth of Cleveland into a major industrial powerhouse in the late 1800s and early 1900s was fueled by the labor and entrepreneurial skills of millions of immigrants. Arriving from Slovakia, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Italy, and Germany, they eagerly filled Cleveland jobs.
After nearly a decade of sliding population figures, Cleveland is now looking to recapture the momentum of those early days of robust economic growth by putting out a high-profile welcome mat to immigrants and others through the new Global Cleveland
Global Cleveland focuses on regional economic development by attracting, welcoming and connecting newcomers, both economically and socially, to the many opportunities available throughout Greater Cleveland.
While the program officially launched in July, the Global Cleveland Welcome Hub will open this fall in the center of downtown Cleveland, according to Baiju Shah, chairman of the organization’s board.
“Global Cleveland will focus on all newcomers with active newcomer attraction initiatives to recruit individuals not currently residing in the Cleveland region,” he explains.
The target audience of newcomers includes immigrants, international students attending local universities and colleges, and “boomerangs”-- native Clevelanders returning to town.
The organization has four strategies: attraction, retention, connection and communication.
“We’ve discovered that many ex-Clevelanders have only limited information about both the economy and the region that was once their home,” Shah explains. “Once presented with the rich set of new opportunities here, they are pleasantly surprised and interested in learning more.”
Global Cleveland is developing a series of initiatives for attracting and retaining newcomers. Programs currently under way aim at showcasing job opportunities in health care, biomedical, IT and financial services.
“We’re also creating a resource directory to help newcomers get more quickly connected to the community,” he says.
The program has developed a host of partnerships with community organizations, agencies, universities and ethnic groups. “We will be establishing a network of welcome centers across the region,” Shah notes. “These centers will include information and resources to help newcomers get connected to both professional opportunities and to community resources throughout the region.”
Source: Baiju Shah, Global Cleveland
Writer: Lynne Meyer