In the next 10 years, Louisville is projected to nearly double its number of foreign-born residents. It’s a sizable economic impact that the city wants to leverage.
On Friday, city and economic leaders rolled out a plan to do just that.
Mayor Greg Fischer and Kent Oyler, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce, were joined by members of Louisville’s foreign-born and professional communities today as they unveiled the Global Louisville Action Plan, according to a news release.
The plan is a collaborative effort among the mayor’s office, GLI and hundreds of community members, and it outlines key strategies to attract, retain and grow Louisville’s foreign-born population and workforce. It provides an overview of the region’s foreign-born population and a set of action steps to increase the number of immigrants here and their capacity to thrive.
The three areas of focus identified in the plan are:
- Integrate: Provide equitable and efficient access to services and resources so that immigrants can more readily use pathways to education and career development to realize their full potential.
- Empower: Assist immigrants in engaging with the Louisville community for the long term and increase their participation levels in all aspects of city life.
- Attract: Develop and implement strategies to attract and retain skilled foreign-born workers and entrepreneurs.
To meet growth goals, the Louisville region is looking to accelerate attraction of native and foreign-born migrants to the area by increasing annual growth of all inbound migration. By 2040, the foreign-born population in Louisville is expected to be 172,000, or 17.2 percent of the population.
“Louisville already has become a magnet city for Cuban immigrants,” Luis Fuentes, owner and publisher of El Kentubano, a publication targeted to Louisville’s Hispanic and Cuban communities, said in the release. “The Global Louisville Action Plan is another great step the city is taking to continue attracting good people who look for freedom and better opportunities. This sets a clear path for making a smooth transition for new arrivers, allowing them to be quickly integrated to society.”
New efforts to support the Global Louisville Action Plan have already been put into motion, including:
- Greater Louisville International Professionals (GLIP) continues to serve as a platform to attract, retain and engage international professional talent in our region
- Prospanica, the local Hispanic and Latino professionals’ organization, and the Kentucky Health Career Center came together last August to prepare Spanish-speaking job seekers for job interviews. More than 200 job seekers showed up for the event.
- KIVA USA, a relationship-based crowdfunding lending platform, will pilot a citizenship loan program that will help with the fees associated with the citizenship process, which is sometimes the biggest barrier to completing naturalization.
- Next month, Louisville Metro Government will launch the Louisville Welcome Academy, a six-day program where immigrant leaders will build leadership skills and connections with city officials to improve communication channels.
- Recredentialing: In the coming year, local immigrants who have high levels of education will get assistance becoming qualified to work in their field or find work that meets their skills and education.
“This Global Louisville Action Plan is a needed corrective. It provides a data-driven illustration of the community benefits brought by our city’s foreign-born residents,” John Koehlinger, executive director of Kentucky Refugee Ministries, said in the release. “I am proud of Global Louisville — of our political, civic and business leadership — for taking the lead in recognizing the wide-ranging benefits of inclusion.”
Shea Van Hoy manages the day-to-day operations of Business First’s news operations.