Congratulations to all of those who participated in, spoke at, donated to, attended, and supported the Global Great Lakes Network’s Second Convening this past June 11-13 in Pittsburgh. With well over 200 attendees, speeches by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald, iGate’s Sunil Wadhwani, and American Immigration Council’s Ben Johnson made the event inspiring and provided great examples of best practices on economic development programs focusing on immigrants in the Rust Belt and across the country.
If you didn’t get a chance to attend or wanted to read about how the Convening was viewed by Pittsburgh media, you can read several media stories on the Convening here. In addition to tackling the issue of African-American and immigrant issues, 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.
Participant surveys from the Convening reveal that 93% agree that developing the Global Great Lakes Network will be useful to their work; 89% will attend a similar Convening in the future; 82% know other people who would be interesting in attending a future Convening; and 82% are interested in online content similar to the content provided at the Convening.
The second day of the Convening was a working session for local organizations to develop a Network work plan, steering committee, geographic footprint, and name. The group voted to define the region as 10 states (MN, WI, IL, IA, MO, IN, OH, MI, PA, and NY—see map above) and to allow local efforts outside the footprint who meet certain to-be-finalized characteristics (declining population, smaller immigrant population than national average, sluggish economic recovery, etc.) to participate in the Network. The group also voted to have Welcoming America serve as the organizational home for the Network, while having Welcoming America contract with Global Detroit and other outside groups for staffing.
Again, a huge round of thanks to Vibrant Pittsburgh, GlobalPittsburgh, Global Detroit, and Welcoming America for their work in pulling the Convening together and to our sponsors—Knight Foundation, Benedum Foundation, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Pittsburgh Foundation,welcome.us, Quicken Loans, Cohen & Grigsby, Community College of Allegheny County, Fragomen, and the Dignity & Respect Campaign of Greater Pittsburgh.