Bowling Green, KY — Today, the City of Bowling Green in Warren County, KY publicly unveiled “Building Community and Growing our Economy: A Welcoming Plan for New Americans,” a comprehensive set of recommendations to engage and integrate New Americans into the local community and workforce. The Welcoming Plan aims to build a stronger and more inclusive economy, provide for safer and more connected communities, and promote resource and service access for New American residents.
The Welcoming Plan is the result of a year-long strategic planning process led by the City of Bowling Green in partnership with the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and the South Central Workforce Development Board that brought together leaders across multiple sectors, including government, business, non-profit, faith, and education. This work came as the result of Bowling Green’s selection as an awardee of the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity from New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America that gives communities nationwide tailored research, technical assistance, and matching grants to support the creation of inclusive policies.
The Welcoming Plan, which articulates 22 recommendations in the categories of A Strengthened & Inclusive Economy, Connected & Safe Communities, and Engaged & Informed Families, follows the release of research from NAE that highlights the myriad contributions immigrants have made to Bowling Green and Warren County’s economic and demographic growth and success. Immigrants accounted for 32.3 percent of the county’s total population growth between 2011 and 2016, and contributed $564.3M to the county’s total GDP in 2016.
The Welcoming Plan was launched at a luncheon and public presentation hosted at the Sloan Convention Center as well as a presentation to the City Commission on Tuesday, January 21. Bowling Green is the first of three communities in Kentucky to release a welcoming plan through Gateways for Growth. Plans from Northern Kentucky and Lexington are expected this spring.
“We envision Building Community and Growing our Economy: A Welcoming Plan for New Americans to be a community wide plan to include New Americans as part of our workforce solution to ensure continued economic growth for years to come,” said Jeff Meisel, City Manager for the City of Bowling Green.
“The South Central Workforce Development Board recognizes the value that New Americans bring to our community and workforce,” said Dr. Robert Boone, CEO of the South Central Workforce Development Board. “We are a proud partner in helping to better connect New Americans to our community’s workforce opportunities and related resources. The Welcome Plan that has resulted from the City of Bowling Green’s strategic planning process will help guide our organization’s efforts in meeting current and projected workforce needs.”
“We are excited to see a thoughtful, concrete roadmap come as the result of months of planning and community engagement,” said Kate Brick, Director of State & Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “Bowling Green has shown a clear commitment to working across sectors to ensure the city is welcoming and inclusive for all, and the economy will certainly benefit.”
Read the full Welcoming Plan here.
About New American Economy: New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to educate, empower and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform. NAE has created a coalition of civic, business, and cultural leaders who span the political spectrum and represent all 50 states. NAE makes the case for smart immigration reform in four ways: 1) we use powerful research to demonstrate how immigration impacts our economy, 2) we organize champions at the grassroots and influencer levels to build support for immigration, 3) we partner with state and local leaders to advocate for policies that recognize the value immigrants add locally, and 4) we show immigrant contributions to American culture through film, food, art, sports, comedy, and more.