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Global Cleveland launches goal to attract immigrants and celebrates Cleveland rich multicultural heritage

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent

Students from Julia De Burgos Cultural Center

Global Cleveland launched its ambitious vision of revitalizing Greater Cleveland into a booming economy by attracting newcomers with a fiesta at Cleveland City Hall on May 24, 2011. More than 500 civic and business leaders, young professionals joined Cleveland Mayor Frank J. Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald in celebrating the inaugural event and to learn more about Global Cleveland’s mission.

“Greater Cleveland remains a world class area,” said Albert Ratner, chairman of the board, Forest City Enterprises.  “We need to grow our population and share our great community with newcomers at the same time we help those who live here increase their opportunities.  That is Global Cleveland’s mission.” 

The evening was filled with entertainment from multicultural groups, including: Bumba performances by students from Julia De Burgos Cultural Center. Guests enjoyed appetizers from many distinct ethnic restaurants like Luchitas, Kan Zaman, Indian Delight, Bonbon Bakeshop, El Rincon, Barley House and networked with like-minded citizens eager to participate in the changes being planned for Cleveland.

Global Cleveland views foreign immigrants as a crucial piece for creating competitive economy and considers the multicultural treasures in the city assets to attracting foreigners. The party celebrated the region’s existing diversity and exposed guests to various elements of other cultures.

The day after, a summit was held at Cleveland State University to discuss goals and strategies through panel discussions. Topics included possibilities of creating programs to attract and retain talent, retaining the pool of international students that graduate from local universities to fill jobs with local companies.

“The attraction strategy is all about connectivity,” said Daniel P. Walsh, Northeast Ohio area president, Huntington National Bank, which has pledged $500,000 to the initiative.  “We will target regions that have high concentrations of individuals with the skills or experience necessary to fill open jobs and make it easy for them to set deep roots in our region.  We want people to come to Cleveland and stay here.”

The goal is to attract 100,000 newcomers to the region over the course of the next decade.

Fran DiDonato of Global Cleveland, others, as Global Cleveland launches goal to attract immigrants and diversity.

“For the employers in the region to prosper, we need to help them attract individuals with the necessary skills or experience to fill their open jobs,” said Baiju Shah, Global Cleveland’s chairman of the board.  “When you support the employers in the region they, in turn, drive economic development and create new jobs.”

Other topics included leveraging relationships between ethnic communities and affinity groups to create welcoming neighborhoods. Global Cleveland will work with strategic partners to design programs that will assist in attraction and retention through methods identified in the summit.

Through generous contributions by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Forest City Enterprises, Huntington National Bank, and the Cleveland Foundation, Global Cleveland has raised $1 million and is actively raising more.

In late summer, Global Cleveland will open a Welcome Hub in the new Huntington National Bank building on Public Square.  In addition to the Hub, connection points will be created across the community.  Memorandums of understanding (MOUs) have been signed with Positively Cleveland, University Circle Inc., Ohio City Inc. and the City of Shaker Heights to establish satellite locations to ensure that resources and information are available in their visitors’ centers. 

Global Cleveland has also established partnerships with the Cleveland Public Library and Cuyahoga County Public Library to make its resources available throughout the library systems, a key community resource for newcomers. 

For more information about Global Cleveland initiatives visit: http://www.globalclevelandinitiative.com/

Baiju Shah                                                    Mayor Frank J. Jackson

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald

Photos by Arooj Ashraf

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Copyright © 1989 to 2011 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/31/11 13:07:53 -0700.





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