Fort Mitchell, KY – Immigrant households in Northern Kentucky earned nearly $430 million and paid over $116 million in taxes in 2017, according to new research by New American Economy (NAE) in partnership with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Duke Energy and Gateway Community and Technical College. The report illustrates the impact immigrants have on Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. The research will be released at a public event at Kenton County Public Library in Erlanger, KY. Speakers include Leisa Mulcahy, Vice President of Workforce for the Northern KY Chamber of Commerce, Rhonda Whitaker, Director of Government and Community Relations for Duke Energy Kentucky, and Rich André, Deputy Director of State and Local Initiatives at NAE.
The report shows the outsize impact immigrants have on Northern Kentucky’s economy and workforce. While they make up just 3.5 percent of the population, foreign-born residents accounted for 4.2 percent of the business owners in the county in 2017. One-third of foreign-born residents aged 25 or older in the region held a bachelor’s degree or higher, and one-in-seven held an advanced degree in 2017. Immigrants also play a major role in key industries, representing 7.7 percent of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers, 7 percent of manufacturing workers, and 6.4 percent of hospitality workers. The report also shows how immigrants helped strengthen the local job market by helping to preserve or create 612 manufacturing jobs that would have either disappeared or moved elsewhere.
The report was released as the Northern Kentucky region brings together leaders across sectors to develop a strategic plan to ensure the region welcomes and harnesses the potential of all residents. Northern Kentucky was one of 14 communities selected nationally for the 2019 Gateways for Growth award to receive research from NAE and technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to support this work.
“There is an economic imperative which drives the NKY Chamber’s interest in promoting and supporting immigrant integration,” said Leisa Mulcahy, Vice President of Workforce at NKY Chamber Foundation. “Data indicates that immigrants represent a rich potential pool for workforce talent. Given that the number of unfilled jobs is projected to increase to 6,000 by 2022 in Northern Kentucky, it is critical to engage the refugee and overall immigrant population in the workforce in order to meet business demands.”
“Across the globe, businesses and communities are competing to attract and retain the best talent. NKU’s strategic exchange partnerships with countries throughout the world help to recruit the brightest international students to our region and allow local students to get a global perspective during college. This is extremely important for Northern Kentucky’s vitality, and we look forward to working with the Chamber to build upon our regional talent efforts,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya.
“As we see the Northern Kentucky region continue to grow, the need for workers in industries like STEM and manufacturing will continue to increase,” said Rich André, Deputy Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “By welcoming foreign-born residents with a unique range of skills, the region is making an important investment in its future.”
Read the full research brief here.