Cleveland is home to immigrants. People whose inventiveness gave us a rich history of patents in fields like engineering and medicine. Immigrants moved here and used their brains, blood, sweat and tears to make us a vibrant industrial city. We aren’t really a Rust Belt city. When you get right down to it, we should be called the City of Immigrants. People who brought their work ethic to the shores of Lake Erie and stayed and thrived.
Here I am, living in 2013 Cleveland, a product of French, Polish, Scotch Irish ancestors. I sell homes to people who move here from other countries and after a while, I realized how crucial a constant path of immigration is to Cleveland. Instead of losing population, instead of having skilled jobs go unfilled, we can keep encouraging people to bring their skills from other countries.
We don’t have to have chain restaurants in this area to get the flavor of ethnic foods. Seriously! We have a wealth of these flavors and all you have to do is travel Cleveland’s many neighborhoods to sample them. In my neck of the woods, I have Thai, Cambodian, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and Puerto Rican restaurants, owned by people with wonderful accents who have not only opened up shop here but add to the tax base and employ local residents. How can we get more of this, please?
I know it’s seen as a political issue. To me, this doesn’t apply to Cleveland. Immigrants are the backbone of our City, they are a big part of our economic future, and the rich cultural infusion all of that brings to an area. We are fortunate to already have this! I’m hoping for a steady, yearly growth of immigrants who add such value to our economy, culture and identity.
There are organizations doing quite a bit of good work (business and non-profit) in this area, but I found myself wanting to garner as much information as possible. And all the information is a bit scattered. What jobs are going unfilled that could be filled by immigrants? Where do these people currently lived? How do we get them here? What are the statistics about immigrant job creation in the Cleveland area? I was out to dinner with a friend who wondered why I didn’t set up a blog about immigration in Cleveland. It was a wonderful idea, especially since it also enables me to (hopefully!) get comments and ideas from so many other people.
I’m looking to talk with people who have moved here, established recent roots, and getting their perspective too.
So here I am. And I’m glad you are here too! If you would like to contact me, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.