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Wayne County's Wayne United wins research award to promote economic contributions of immigrants

Gateways for Growth Challenge supports commitment to create opportunities, promote inclusion

New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America have selected Wayne County's Wayne United Program as a recipient of the Gateways to Growth Challenge Research Award which will provide detailed socio-economic information specific to Wayne County's immigrant population.

"Wayne County is one of the most diverse counties in the nation, and that diversity is our strength. The contribution of immigrants to our community is undeniable, and this award will help us highlight the impact they make across Wayne County every day," said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans.

Launched in December 2015, the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) and Welcoming America selected twenty communities from a competitive application process to receive awards through the Gateways for Growth Challenge. The awards include research, technical assistance, and/or matching grant support to help develop multi-sector strategic plans for immigrant integration. These plans, which combine the leadership of government, business, faith, and civil society organizations, will highlight and enhance the economic contributions immigrants make to communities around the country.

"Contrary to the negative stereotypical portrayals we hear far too often these days, immigrants are a positive and transformative force in our communities. This research award will demonstrate how immigrants contribute to the economy by providing data such as spending power, household income and payroll contributions to Social Security and Medicare," said Zaineb Hussein, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Wayne County.

As of 2018, approximately 147,000 immigrants lived in Wayne County according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

This year's awardees, alongside Wayne County, include:

· Bowling Green, Kentucky

· Cedar Rapids, Iowa

· Charlotte, North Carolina

· Flint, Michigan

· Grand Rapids, Michigan

· Lexington, Kentucky

· Lowell, Massachusetts

· Memphis, Tennessee

· Northern Kentucky

· Roanoke, Virginia

· San Antonio, Texas

· Toledo-Lucas County, Ohio

"The facts prove it-cities that embrace immigration as a growth strategy reap the benefits," said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. "The Gateways for Growth Challenge spurs more local leaders to step up and make immigration a centerpiece of their economic agenda."

On February 8, 2018 with support from Executive Evans, the Wayne County Commission passed a resolution declaring Wayne County a Welcoming County at a ceremony attended by community and civic leaders at the Guardian Building.

"Welcoming America is delighted to be working with a growing number of local leaders like these that are fueling a movement of inclusion, recognizing that communities are more cohesive and more prosperous when everyone who lives there feels like they belong. G4G is an important opportunity for local governments, business, and civil society to come together to develop the plans, programs, and policies to promote a welcoming home for all," said Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America.

ABOUT WAYNE UNITED: Wayne United is an initiative launched by the Wayne County Executive's office to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the County. The initiative will develop a strategic plan to foster a welcoming environment where all residents can thrive. The goal is to increase awareness and convene a community-wide dialogue through collaboration between community, civic and business partners that informs Wayne County's public service.