Global Cleveland: Immigrants and Economic Prosperity

by | Jun 27, 2017 | Cost of Living & Economy

EA staff at Global Cleveland.

Monday, June 19, 2017: Today, EA staffers met with the team at Global Cleveland to learn how this organization “attracts, welcomes and connects, international newcomers to economic and social opportunities in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.” We met with the following Global Cleveland team members…

  • Joe Cimperman, President
  • Jessica Whale, Director of Global Talent and Economic Development
  • Jazmin Long, Director of Community Relations and Strategic Partnership
  • Wenzhu Sun, Connection Program Associate
  • Robert Smith, Special Projects Manager, Policy and Communication Advisor

Global Cleveland began six years ago and is supported by the corporate, philanthropic, and civic communities of Northeast Ohio. They are a non-political, non-profit. Global Cleveland partners with Catholic Charities and USCRI-Cleveland (U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants) to complement each other’s work and not compete for resources. Their current work together serves as a national model.
This team understands the important impact that immigration has in maintaining a thriving city full of culture, industry, and economic prosperity. A successful metropolitan area typically has a population of at least 25% foreign-born residents. One hundred years ago, Cleveland boasted 40%. Today, Cleveland’s population is only 5% foreign-born. Our region needs newcomers. Immigrants are twice as likely as native-born citizens to become entrepreneurs. 30.4 percent of the Fortune 500 companies in Ohio were founded by immigrants or their children.
So is Cleveland attracting and retaining international newcomers? Yes! Our region is home to over 120 distinct cultural groups. People are immigrating to Northeast Ohio, mostly international students and refugees. Global Cleveland provides career and support services to our international residents and helps local businesses overcome typical misconceptions about the hiring process. When our newcomers prosper, Cleveland prospers. Interested in the stories of those who have immigrated to Cleveland? Take a look at Global Cleveland’s Heritage Year Project.
Cleveland is home to many excellent colleges; therefore, we have many talented international students in our midst. Global Cleveland connects local companies to these students. In 2013, these international students supported 11,337 jobs in Ohio and contributed $827.28 million to the state’s economy.
Global Cleveland recently hosted a Global Employer Summit to help local businesses connect with international newcomers and learn how perceived talent gap problems in our area can be addressed through the hiring of local, international employees. While there are real barriers to hiring an international employee, there are also real solutions and opportunities. Misinformation discourages many employers from hiring international employees, but Global Cleveland provides counterpoint information. For example, STEM international college grads can work for three years on their student visas! That means they have a 76% chance of winning the H1B visa lottery. International students who are educated in the Cleveland area often move to the coasts because companies on the East or West Coasts are perceived to be more ‘international friendly.’ But, Global Cleveland is working to change that and retain top talent trained right here at home!
Global Cleveland supports more than international college students…Approximately, 1,200 refugees made Cleveland home last year. This number grows by 10% each year. Refugees typically enter the US with no work restrictions. There is often a misconception that international residents are not skilled employees, but this is just not true. Global Cleveland connects skilled employees with the companies who need them.
Global Cleveland has two main initiatives impacting our region’s 15,500 lawful, naturalized residents…the Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy and the International Village.
The Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy is a Cleveland Metropolitan School District ESL (English as a second language) public school for students K-12. The school has grown from 600 students from 25 countries speaking 15 languages to over 900 students from 42 countries speaking 31 languages in just a few short years. Many of these students become trilingual speaking their native language, English, and Spanish. The school helps students acclimate to their new home through English immersion with native language support and addresses academic, social, emotional, and developmental needs.

President Joe Cimperman explaining their role in the community.

Inspired by the success of the academy, Joe had an idea…International Village. Refugees are in desperate need of housing, and the area around the school’s campus had plenty of abandoned homes. Funds were raised and a partnership with Metro West Development Corporation was established. A dozen homes were restored. Working with the City of Cleveland, Metro West will take ownership of about 20 abandoned homes per year, restore them, and then sell them to pre-screened investors for $7,000. Investors are required to rent the homes to newcomers. This project not only provides a community for the international newcomers but also begins the revitalization of a neighborhood in need.
Every year more than 2,000 immigrants are sworn in as new United States citizens in Cleveland, and a representative from Global Cleveland attends every ceremony!
Global Cleveland also helps foreign countries see the benefits of working with our region and was responsible for showcasing our great city by hosting a whole slew of international diplomats and leaders at the Republican National Convention. Joe and his team organized events for and met with representatives from over 70 countries!
Interested in assisting Global Cleveland? There are always opportunities to donate or volunteer as an office assistant, mock interviewer, professional connection, or welcoming mentor.
Interested in learning more about the impact of international newcomers? Here are some helpful articles.
Immigrants Crucial to Ohio Economy
Ohio’s Postsecondary Global Initiative
Reimaging the Midwest: Immigration Initiatives and the Capacity of Local Leadership
Globalizing Cleveland: A Path Forward
Economic Impact of Refugees in the Cleveland Area
Does your company recruit international employees? Does your international company have an office in Cleveland? Executive Arrangements can help your recruits and new hires see how Cleveland, Akron, or Canton would be a great fit for their lifestyles and their families. Give us a call at 216.231.9311.