Louisville was renamed “Certified Welcoming” by the national non-profit organization Welcoming America
Mayor highlights 12-year welcome celebration with community partners
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (November 12, 2022) – Mayor Greg Fischer today joined with community partners at South Central Regional Library to celebrate Louisville’s recertification as a certified welcoming city and 12 years of work to become a more welcoming and inclusive city for foreign-born residents.
Welcoming America, a national nonprofit leading an inclusive community movement, announced in October that five U.S. cities and counties, including Louisville, have received Welcome status or been redesignated as Certified Places. In June 2018, Louisville became the second city in the United States to receive Certified Welcoming status and has been through the recertification process for the past 16 months.
“Louisville is excited to be named a Certified Welcoming City, and we thank Welcoming America for once again recognizing our great city as a place where everyone can fulfill their full human potential!” said Mayor Fischer. “Compassion has remained a core tenet throughout my tenure, which means that no matter where you’re from or who you love, you have a home here in Louisville. I’m proud of the work we’ve done over the past 12 years to be even more welcoming and inclusive, and I look forward to seeing this important work continue through our Office for Globalization.”
During the celebration, the mayor recognized key organizations and nonprofit organizations that have helped make Louisville more welcoming through their work with immigrants and refugees, as well as their support for the Office for Globalization’s efforts.
“Louisville Metro Government could not do this work without committed community partners, including Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Catholic Charities, La Casita Center, Americana Community Center, Jewish Family and Career Services, REDEZ, and Adelante Hispanic Achievers—to just a few to call. We are grateful for their daily contribution to making Louisville a better place to live for everyone,” he said.
Foreign-born residents make up 8.1% of the total population, and 16% of Louisville’s foreign-born population has an academic or professional degree — higher than the 11.4% of native-born residents. In 2020, nearly 74% of the Jefferson County native community was employed, compared to 65% for the city as a whole.
Mayor Fischer established the Office for Globalization in 2012 to help Louisville compete in an international and multicultural world and to support and celebrate the importance of our local immigrant communities. As a result of this commitment to globalization, the city’s foreign-born population has increased by nearly 40% over the past 10 years, adding to Louisville’s cultural vibrancy and a major contributor to the city’s economic growth.
In 2016, the Mayor’s Office unveiled the Global Louisville Action Plan, a collaborative effort of the city, the regional chamber of commerce, and hundreds of community members. Achievements include, but are not limited to, improving connectivity of foreign-born entrepreneurs to business development resources and industry and minority business networks; promoting WorldFest and other global events; Development of a “Welcoming City” campaign; and encouraging participation on Louisville Metro boards and commissions and leadership initiatives such as the Louisville Welcome Academy. Since 2017, the Office for Globalization has hosted eight Welcome Academy cohorts, and over 120 alumni serve as trusted community ambassadors and key globalization partners.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office for Globalization launched the Multicultural Community Campaign, which aims to address the immediate needs of the foreign-born community with community partners such as the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and other trusted communities – to meet partners. Through this program, the Office for Globalization managed the translation of materials into 26 languages and worked with 50 immigrant-owned companies to ensure compliance with public health regulations.
Recognizing the need for better business support for immigrant-owned businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office for Globalization and the Department for Economic Development launched REACH earlier this year, a program to support small businesses to become businesses-owned Helping immigrants grow and become more resilient to economic change.
In June, Mayor Fischer, along with representatives from Metro Council, the Office for Globalization, the Office of Equity and community partners, signed the Language Access Ordinance, which expanded access to government services and information to people with limited English skills.
To meet growth goals, the Louisville region is attempting to accelerate the attraction of native and foreign-born migrants to the area by increasing annual growth in total immigration from 1 percent to 2 percent. By 2040, Louisville’s foreign-born population is projected to make up 17.2 percent of the total population.
About the Office for Globalization
Louisville has seen unprecedented growth in its immigrant population in recent years, and the Louisville metro government’s Office of Globalization is implementing new strategies to engage the international population. This office is dedicated to helping Louisville compete in an international and multicultural world that will help its citizens and businesses engage in civic, cultural, and professional communities.
The office’s three-pronged mission is:
· To help new Americans in our city achieve self-sufficiency and success,
· To strengthen and promote multiculturalism in our city, and
· Participation in economic development through global economic reach.
For more information about the Office for Globalization, go to https://louisvilleky.gov/government/globalization
About certified greeting
Certified Welcoming is a formal award given to cities and counties that have created policies and programs that reflect their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion and have met the high bar of the Welcoming Standard. This innovative program evaluates city and county governments’ efforts to include and welcome immigrants into all aspects of civic, social and economic life in their communities. Learn more at certifiedwelcoming.org.
About welcoming America
Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps communities build welcoming societies where everyone, including immigrants, can fully contribute and shape our common prosperity. Through the Welcome Network of over 300 local governments and non-profit organizations, we work to help communities develop the roadmap they need to create
Welcome policy and share new approaches to inclusion that create an environment where everyone can truly thrive. Learn more at welcomeamerica.org.