Release of the Welcoming Economies Playbook

Five years after writing the Guide to Immigrant Economic Development, Welcoming America and Global Detroit have teamed up to produce the Welcoming Economies Playbook. On a webinar hosted by Welcoming America last week, Sloan Herrick, Global Detroit’s Deputy Director spoke to the growth that we are seeing in the inclusive economic development sector across the country. “The exercise of writing the Playbook and reflecting on what we produced just five years ago, has shown us just how much we are learning and how the sector has evolved.”


The capacity to welcome immigrants and refugees into our economic fabric, particularly in rust belt cities has grown exponentially. The Playbook chronicles best practices and innovations in workforce development, entrepreneurship, homeownership, and urban and rural agriculture. We now have programs in Syracuse, St. Louis and Detroit that help immigrants and refugees become first time home buyers – providing down payment support and helping families identify viable stock where neighbors speak their native language, and even helping locate trustworthy contractors. Over the last five years with the leadership of partners like Upwardly Global we have seen a wave of online professional, skilled immigrant licensing guides that outline the process for becoming licensed in an occupation when an individual is educated or trained outside of the U.S.


With the release of the Playbook last week, we are encouraged by new programs, as well as adjustments to longstanding strategies, that are profoundly impacting access to new opportunities. And we are reminded that these strategies create opportunities for everyone in our communities. We can’t expect to have winning teams – or in our case a thriving region – if we are leaving key players on the sidelines. The data shows us and the stories tell us that immigrants and refugees – alongside their US-born neighbors –  are starting companies that create jobs, they are bringing new ideas, and new ways of solving problems to the table.


We are excited to chronicle the good work in the field. Check out the Playbook here!


Welcoming America and Global Detroit would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their valuable input and unique perspectives that contributed to the development of this resource: Daniel Cowen, Susan Downs-Karkos, Sloan Herrick, Christina Pope, all of the organizations that contributed descriptions of their innovative models, and finally, Steve Tobocman, who authored the Guide to Immigrant Economic Development, which laid the foundation for this playbook.


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