City convenes Steering Committee to lead in the development of a multi-sector strategic plan for integrating New Americans

The City of Bowling Green convenes Steering Committee to lead in the development of a multi-sector strategic plan for integrating New Americans in Bowling Green, Warren County. The newly formed Steering Committee is comprised of key stakeholders across diverse sectors that will bring their expertise to the table to oversee the creation of said plan, which will be finalized and unveiled in January 2020.

Members of the Steering Committee include representatives from the South Central Workforce Development Board, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, Western Kentucky University, WKU Small Business Development Center, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, Inc., Community Action of Southern Kentucky, representatives from various workforce sectors such as construction, health care, and manufacturing, as well as immigrant and refugee service providers, immigrant small business owners and leaders.

This effort is made possible through the Gateways for Growth Challenge, a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive support from New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America (WA) for the development of multi-sector plans for integrating New Americans. The City of Bowling Green applied and received funding for two levels of support: Technical Assistance and Matching Grant Funds. The latter was used to secure a consultant with expertise in strategic planning, economic development, and diverse labor force to assist in the development of a multi-sector strategic plan which will be used to:

Utilize a 2018 ‘New Americans in Warren County’ Gateways for Growth research product to connect New Americans to the available economic development opportunities in Bowling Green/Warren County.

Breakdown barriers between employers and New Americans to capitalize on the present labor force opportunities. The above report revealed that 25.9% of the employed New Americans living in Warren County commuted outside the county for work in 2016, while thousands of local jobs go unfilled.

The City of Bowling Green plans to include three elements into their multi-sector strategic plan: 1) welcoming, 2) education, and 3) economic development. The City of Bowling Green has contracted with Cincinnati Compass which brings a wide range of expertise in the field of immigrant integration and strategic planning to create programming for inclusive community and welcoming across multiple sectors; asset-based community and economic development; government relations; and diverse labor force support and engagement.

The Gateways for Growth Strategic Planning efforts are being led by the City’s International Communities Liaison in the Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. For more information contact Leyda Becker at Leyda.becker@bgky.org or (270) 393-3766.

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