Louisville redesignated as Certified Welcoming by national nonprofit Welcoming America

November 12, 2022

Mayor highlights 12 years of welcoming at celebration with community partners

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (November 12, 2022) – Mayor Greg Fischer today joined community partners at the South Central Regional Library to celebrate Louisville’s recertification as a Certified Welcoming city and 12 years of work toward becoming a more welcoming and inclusive city for foreign-born residents.

 

Welcoming America, a national nonprofit leading a movement of inclusive communities, announced in October that five U.S. cities and counties, including Louisville, achieved Welcoming status or were redesignated as Certified Welcoming places. In June 2018, Louisville became the second city in the United States to obtain Certified Welcoming status and has been undergoing the recertification process over the past 16 months.

 

“Louisville is excited to be redesignated as a Certified Welcoming city, and we thank Welcoming America for once again recognizing our great city as a place where anyone can reach their full human potential!” said Mayor Fischer. “Compassion has remained a core tenet throughout my administration, meaning that no matter where you’re from or who you love, you have a home here in Louisville. I am proud of the work we’ve completed over the past 12 years to be even more welcoming and inclusive, and I look forward to watching this critical work continue through our Office for Globalization.”

 

During the celebration event, the Mayor acknowledged key organizations and nonprofits that have helped make Louisville welcoming through their work with immigrants and refugees, as well as their support for the Office for Globalization efforts.

 

“Louisville Metro Government could not do this work without committed community partners, including Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Catholic Charities, La Casita Center, Americana Community Center, Jewish Family and Career Services, REDEZ and Adelante Hispanic Achievers – to name a few. We are grateful for their daily contributions to making Louisville a better place to live for all,” he said.

 

Foreign-born residents make up 8.1% of total population, and 16% of Louisville’s foreign-born population hold a graduate or professional degree – higher than the 11.4% of native-born residents. In 2020, nearly 74% of Jefferson County’s native-born community were employed, compared to 65% for the city overall.

 

Mayor Fischer created the Office for Globalization in 2012 to help Louisville compete in an international and multicultural world and to support and celebrate the importance of our local immigrant communities. As a result of this commitment to globalization, the city’s foreign-born population has increased nearly 40% in the last 10 years, adding to Louisville’s cultural vibrancy and contributing greatly to the city’s economic growth.

 

In 2016, the Mayor’s Office unveiled the Global Louisville Action Plan, a collaborative effort between the city, the regional chamber of commerce, and hundreds of community members. Some of the goals achieved include increasing connectivity of foreign-born entrepreneurs to business development resources and sector and minority business networks; promoting WorldFest and other global events; developing a Welcoming City campaign; and encouraging participation on Louisville Metro boards and commissions and in leadership initiatives such as Louisville Welcome Academy. Since 2017, the Office for Globalization has hosted eight Welcome Academy cohorts, and over 120 graduates serve as trusted community ambassadors and key Globalization partners.

 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office for Globalization created the Multicultural Community Campaign designed to address the immediate need of the foreign-born community with community partners like the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and other trusted community partners. Through this program, the Office for Globalization led the translation of materials into 26 languages and worked with 50 immigrant-owned businesses to ensure public health compliance.

 

Seeing a need for better business support for immigrant-owned businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office for Globalization and the Department of Economic Development earlier this year launched REACH, a small business support program, to help immigrant-owned businesses grow and become more resilient to economic shifts.

 

In June, Mayor Fischer joined Metro Council representatives, the Office for Globalization, the Office of Equity and community partners to sign the Language Access Ordinance, which expanded access to government services and information to limited English-proficient individuals.

 

In order to meet growth goals, the Louisville region is looking to accelerate attraction of native and foreign-born migrants to the area by increasing annual growth of all inbound migration from 1 percent to 2 percent. By 2040, the foreign-born population in Louisville is expected to be 17.2 percent of the total population.

 

About the Office for Globalization

Louisville has seen unprecedented growth in its immigrant population in recent years, and Louisville Metro Government’s Office for Globalization is implementing new strategies to engage the international population. This office is dedicated to helping Louisville compete in an international and multicultural world that will help its citizens and businesses engage in civic, cultural, and professional communities.

 

The three-pronged mission of the office is:

·         To assist new Americans to our city to achieve self-sufficiency and success,

·         To enhance and encourage multi-culturalism in our city, and

·         To engage in economic development through global economic outreach.

 

For more information about the Office for Globalization, please visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/globalization.

 

About Certified Welcoming

Certified Welcoming is a formal designation for cities and counties that have created policies and programs reflecting their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion and met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard. This innovative program assesses city and county governments on their efforts to include and welcome immigrants in all areas of civic, social, and economic life in their communities. Learn more at certifiedwelcoming.org.

 

About Welcoming America

Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports communities building a welcoming society where every person, including immigrants, can fully contribute and shape our shared prosperity. Through the Welcoming Network of 300+ local governments and nonprofits, we work to help communities develop the roadmap they need to create

welcoming policies and share new approaches to inclusion that create an environment where everyone can truly thrive. Learn more at welcomingamerica.org.

 

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