​Creating a More Welcoming Cedar Rapids

Dec 16, 2019

Making Cedar Rapids more attractive to international talent expands economic opportunity for all. Immigrants have played a key role in developing the economy of Cedar Rapids by founding and supporting some of the most important local businesses. Making sure that our economy continues to work for all residents maintains a high quality of life for all members of our community.

Cedar Rapids was one of 14 communities selected nationally for the 2019 Gateways for Growth award to receive research and technical assistance from New American Economy and Welcoming America. The City of Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, the Catherine McCauley Center, the Intercultural Center of Iowa, and YPN worked together for apply for the Gateways for Growth award. Data from New American Economy on the impact of immigrants recently and an action plan were recently unveiled, creating a path to a more welcoming Cedar Rapids for immigrants.

Welcoming Cedar Rapids: Action Plan
The purpose of this effort is to ensure that foreign-born residents have the education, preparation, and connections necessary to reach their ultimate potential. Immigrants have played a key role in developing the economy of Cedar Rapids, founding and supporting some of the most important local businesses. Making sure that our economy continues to work for all residents will maintain a high quality of life for all members of our community.

The Welcoming Cedar Rapids: Action Plan outlines three primary focus areas:

  • Creating a Welcoming Community – Cedar Rapids will become a destination of choice for international talent. Immigrants will feel welcomed, and immigration will be understood as a source of cultural and economic strength.
  • Strengthening Workforce and Education – Education will continue to be responsive to the needs of immigrants and the business sector to address workforce challenges and ensure long-term solutions for the supply of qualified workers.
  • Supporting Business Development and Entrepreneurship – A comprehensive continuum of support will exist to support immigrant entrepreneurs.

Economic Alliance Involvement in Welcoming Cedar Rapids: Action Plan
Welcoming Week is a movement of communities across the globe who recognize that being a welcoming community for all makes us stronger economically, socially, and culturally. Welcoming Week 2020 is September 11 – 20, and the Economic Alliance will lead Welcome Week efforts in Cedar Rapids. We will also play a role in supporting and/or participating in an immigrant business resource event. Stay tuned for more details on both efforts.

Involvement in the Gateways for Growth and Welcoming America efforts fit into the Economic Alliance’s Economic Development & Workforce core function, promote initiatives related to economic growth.




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