Photo caption: Anne Pu, editor of the Erie Chinese Journal, asks a question at the Global Employer Summit
The global economy is accelerating rapidly and local employers need to join it. That means targeting global markets and hiring the kind of talent that can succeed in new worlds.
That means becoming a global employer.
Building a Global Economy
Those were key messages to emerge at the inaugural Global Employer Summit, which Global Cleveland hosted May 31. The first-of-its-kind conference drew about 150 business leaders, educators and international students. They discussed new business frontiers, missed opportunities, and strategies for making local companies more competitive in the global economy.
Sowmya Bhamidi came to the summit with a new master’s degree in digital sciences from Kent State University. She is seeking work in the growing field of data science. As a high-skill immigrant, Bhamidi can work up to three years before needing an employer to sponsor a work visa. Yet she has so far found her immigration status to be a deal breaker in Northeast Ohio.
“I say, ‘You’ll have three years to decide if I’m worth it,” she said cheerfully.
She shook her head.
“They’re very nice. They tell me I’m highly qualified. I never hear back.”
An opportunity to shed light on misinformation
Andy Passen thinks she is running up against a harmful mindset. The former director of human resources for Forest City Enterprise says many local employers are either unaware of the visa process or are intimidated by it, especially in the current political climate.
That’s one reason he pushed for an employer summit. He saw a need to educate employers on the relative ease of hiring international talent.
“It’s the start of a dialogue that I hope will lead to action,” he said near the close of the daylong conference. “We need to bring more business leaders into the discussion. I think there’s a lot of misinformation.”
By hiring high-skill immigrants, he said, local employers can strengthen their companies while helping to replenish the region’s population. There are so many levels of win,” he said. “You can win for your company. You can win for your community.”
Global Cleveland has not yet decided if there will be a second Global Employer Summit, but Passen’s mind is made up.
“We need more of these,” he said.