Introducing the Welcoming Economies Playbook: Strategies for Building an Inclusive Local Economy

Upcoming Welcoming America webinar and tool launch:

Many communities recognize that refugee and other immigrant residents, in addition to being valued neighbors and civic leaders, represent economic growth as new homeowners, taxpayers, business owners, workers, and consumers. Together with longer-term residents, New Americans are fueling the competitiveness of local companies and communities in the global economy.

This webinar will explore Welcoming America’s soon-to-be-released new tool, the Welcoming Economies Playbook: Strategies for Building an Inclusive Local Economy by sharing how local leaders can develop an inclusive approach to economic development, tips for success, and key strategies around areas such as workforce development, entrepreneurship, home ownership, and urban and rural agriculture.

Featured Speakers

  • Natalie El-Deiry, Deputy Director, International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City
  • Sloan Herrick, Deputy Director, Global Detroit
  • Karen Kaplan, Director of Work Train, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity
  • Christina Pope, Network Director, Welcoming America

When:  Thursday, August 16, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. EDT


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Webinar Alert: Welcoming and Integrating Refugee Professionals

Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern

The refugee images from overseas emphasize war and poverty, leading many in the receiving community to think of refugees only in terms of their needs, rather than their many potential contributions. Few consider refugee professionals: the many doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, teachers, and others who make their way to the U.S. and work to rebuild not only their lives, but also their careers.

The Welcoming and Integrating Refugee Professionals webinar will help you consider how you can do more to maximize the potential of refugee professionals in their communities. This includes implications for the development of programs, strategic partnerships, and positive communications. We’ll explore who refugee professionals are, recommendations for service providers, innovative partnerships, and ways to communicate refugee professional success stories back out to a broader audience.

Featured Speakers

  • Katherine Gebremedhin, IMPRINT/WES
  • Nicole Redford, Higher

To register, click here.

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Last Chance to Register for Higher’s Third Annual Refugee Employment Workshop

Blucifer will greet you at the airport.

Today is the last day to register for the Third Annual Refugee Employment Workshop, November 2 – 4 in Denver. We’re almost sold out, so be sure to register today!

We have a great agenda planned for these few days. There are too many exciting presenters, panels and topics to list.  If you’re curious, check out the draft agenda here.

Besides the amazing content, the agenda is full of peer networking opportunities, as well as a few surprises that you’re going to love.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

See you in Denver!

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A Free Economic Integration Webinar from Welcoming America

welcomeJoin Welcoming America on Tuesday, August 9 from 12:00 – 1:00 EST to learn about two promising practices for including refugees in your community’s economic development.  You’ll learn about models for creating inclusive training and structuring culturally competent lending programs.  Click here to register.

And don’t forget that September 16-25 is Welcoming Week!  Click here to learn how you can bring an engaging event to your community and get involved in other ways.



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Friday Feature: Best of World Refugee Day 2016

If there’s anything positive about the ongoing backlash against resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S., it’s an increase in excellent public awareness communication to combat it.

Here are three of Higher’s favorite pieces commemorating World Refugee Day 2016:

1. A short film from singer Alicia Keys, set in a war-torn Los Angeles where U.S. families are forced to flee violence to safety across the border in Mexico.

2. An eloquent opinion editorial from Welcoming America on

3.  The history of Bosnian refugee impact in revitalizing a St. Louis, MO neighborhood on

Share your favorite World Refugee Day celebrations at

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Friday Feature: Welcoming America’s David Lubell Debunks “Stranger Danger”

The fear of strangers runs deep in our culture. It may start as a wise caution from parents to children, but many carry this “stranger danger” mentality into adulthood, and this perspective has a pervasive impact, not only on individuals, but also on institutions, communities, and nations.

In a recent TEDx Berlin talk, David Lubell, Founder and Executive Director of Welcoming America, debunks the “stranger danger” mentality, and talks about why diversity is critical to the vitality of our communities and why cultivating welcoming communities should be a priority alongside providing the traditional core services to newly arrived refugees.

Check it out and consider sharing with your network:


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Welcoming America Grant Opportunity

welcomeHelping to create or protect a welcoming environment for everyone has never been more important. Welcoming America is an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) technical assistance grantee to provide support for the refugee resettlement network.  Refugee employment and long term economic integration is an important part of the conversation.  Here’s an opportunity to make sure the important employment perspective is a part of your community plans.

The Gateways for Growth Challenge is a competitive opportunity of local communities to receive support from Welcoming America and the partnership for a New American Economy Research Fund to help develop mulit-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants into local communities.

Click here to read complete information about an opportunity for your city to get support – that could even include $$$ – for developing a welcoming strategy.

The application deadline is Friday, February 5.   Contact Hannah Carswell to register for a webinar to answer frequently asked questions before January 22.



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3 Ways You Can Cultivate a Welcoming Culture in Your Community

W07-Welcome-ColorOnBlack-bannerHappy National Welcoming Week! From September 12-20, communities all over the nation are celebrating the cultures and contributions of immigrants and refugees. In honor of this nationwide initiative, Higher is exploring the idea of cultivating welcoming communities, especially as it relates to refugee employment.

There is a strong connection between local attitudes towards immigrants and refugees and successful employment outcomes for our clients. This may not be a comforting thought because it is a factor that seems out of our control. We can provide solid job readiness training for our clients, and we can hone our sales techniques as we speak to employers, but what can we really do about indifferent or negative attitudes that may be prevalent in our communities? Perhaps more than you think.

In order to get some insight on this question Higher spoke to Rachel Peric, Deputy Director at Welcoming America, who shared the following 3 strategies from Welcoming America’s Model:

  1. Engage local leaders. Local government and other faith and community leaders can be invaluable partners in cultivating a welcoming community. For more on this check out Welcoming America’s “Welcoming Cities and Counties” initiative. Additionally, speaking at your local Chamber of Commerce can also be a great strategy for building awareness and making connections in your community.
  1. Develop strategic communications that highlight the strengths and contributions of immigrants and refugees. Welcoming America’s Welcoming Refugees project provides a helpful toolkit entitled “Reframing Refugees” that is a great starting point for developing positive messaging about refugees and the work that you do. Also check out the “Stronger Together” toolkit, which focuses on immigrants as a force for economic growth.
  1. Create opportunities for relational connections between refugees and receiving communities. One of the most powerful ways to break down stereotypes and prejudice is by getting people in the same room and simply allowing them to interact. Be creative. Find ways to facilitate mutual learning and networking between refugees and employers, mentors and other community members. There are many ways that this can happen, but one possible strategy could be to plan an event that targets prospective employers and features success stories from both refugees and employers who have successfully employed refugees.

When discussing refugee employment strategies we often focus on our approach to individual employers. While these interactions are essential, it is also important for the long term success of our clients to develop strategies that focus on the wider community. The practical steps above are a great way to get started. Many thanks to Rachel Peric for sharing these insights!

To find a National Welcoming Week event near you check out Welcoming America’s “Find an Event” page.


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