On Wednesday, April 3rd, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce joined more than 20 chambers and business organizations from across the country in Los Angeles for a convening to discuss immigration integration efforts. Belinda Garza Hartwig, VP of Economic Development and Lisa Marie Gomez, VP of Education and Workforce, attended the meeting to share the Chamber’s work on the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a national initiative supporting the development of locally informed strategic plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants into a community.
The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and the New American Economy, in partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, convened the group to share challenges and successes communities have related to immigration integration. Chambers from a wide cross-section of the country including Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio spoke to the effectiveness of showing the positive economic contributions immigrants make to local economies.
Dr. Manuel Pastor, professor at USC and leading scholar on immigrant integration, presented on the tandem role foreign-born individuals play in driving population growth and economic growth. He stressed the important place for Chambers and the business community to champion immigrant integration for the sake of meeting growing industry demands for workforce talent. For example, ten percent of America’s workers employed at a privately-owned U.S. company worked at an immigrant-owned firm in 2010. Interested in finding out the impact on San Antonio? In the coming weeks, we will be releasing the economic impact that immigrants have on our community.
The Chamber has been a long-standing supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and identifying a solution for DACA recipients. With record low unemployment rates and high numbers of individuals retiring from the workforce, employers need diverse talent pools to sustain and prosper. Over the next several months, the Chamber will be conducting stakeholder and community meetings to gather input on how San Antonio can be a place where our immigrant community thrives and fully contributes, making San Antonio globally competitive.
For more information on the Gateways for Growth Challenge or to participate in our strategic planning, contact Lisa Marie Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org (210-229-2134) or Belinda Garza Hartwig at email@example.com (210-229-2199).