News

San Antonio Chamber Wins the Gateways for Growth Challenge

In the third round, a cohort of 13 joins 41 communities in a commitment to

integrate immigrants and create opportunities for all

New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America have selected San Antonio to receive a Gateways for Growth award in the third year of the initiative. Launched in December 2015, the Gateways for Growth Challenge is a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive tailored research, direct technical assistance, and matching grants from New American Economy and Welcoming America to develop concrete strategies to integrate immigrants, foster economic growth, and promote inclusion for all residents. Along with San Antonio, this year’s other awardees 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
  • Toledo-Lucas County, Ohio
  • Wayne County, Michigan

The new Gateways for Growth cohort demonstrate a commitment to develop concrete strategies that ensure all residents have access to the tools and support they need to succeed and contribute to their communities and to highlight the contributions immigrants are already making locally. As of 2017, approximately 204,000 immigrants lived in San Antonio, according to US Census Bureau data.

“San Antonio’s economic prosperity has always involved the people that live here – immigrants and citizens alike. That is our strength,” said Richard Perez, President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. “We know one of the challenges ahead for our major industries is workforce talent, and the Gateways for Growth Challenge is a great opportunity for our community to design a welcoming strategy that attracts and retains the best and brightest in the world.”

Awardees receive a combination of research, technical assistance, and matching grants from New American Economy and Welcoming America to support the development of welcoming strategies. Gateways for Growth (G4G) also serves as a network in which local communities can learn from each other and share best practices.

“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.”

“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.

“The City of San Antonio is excited to learn about the contributions of our immigrant and refugee residents to the local economy, as well as how our local community can create an environment that allows all of our residents to reach their full potential,” said Tino Gallegos, City of San Antonio Immigration Liaison. “Partnerships with national experts in immigrant integration will help San Antonio craft strategies that have proven successful in other cities across the United States.”

This year, the Gateways for Growth Challenge will again offer resources to communities that demonstrate a public-private commitment to the development of a community-wide strategic plan for immigrant integration. Those resources include:

  • Customized quantitative research reports from NAE on the demographic and economic contributions immigrants their communities;
  • On-the-ground technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to help communities draft, execute, and communicate a multi-sector immigrant integration strategy; and
  • Planning grants from NAE and Welcoming America that local partners have committed to match.

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