Second Convening of the Network

June 12, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA

The second convening of the WE Global Network in Pittsburgh hosted well over 200 national leaders and local practitioners from across the Rust Belt. The conference opened with inspiring and informative speeches from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald, iGate’s Sunil Wadhwani, and American Immigration Council’s Ben Johnson.  The event provided great examples of best practices on economic development programs focusing on immigrants in the Rust Belt and across the country.

One highlight was the session on African-American and immigrant relations in Rust Belt cities, especially pertaining to immigrant-focused economic development initiatives.  The panel discussed the importance of making these initiatives part of “an and equation” that sought to attract newcomer talent, as well as incumbent talent. In addition, the Convening looked at Nashville’s immigrant welcoming success, micro-enterprise, international students, skilled immigrant integration, municipal services, ethnic media, federal immigration reform, and how to start successful local immigrant economic development initiatives.

The final day of the Convening was a working session during which participants helped prioritize and hone future activities of the Network, and adopt geographic boundaries. The group left Pittsburgh repowered and moving forward.