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Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Wins the Gateways for Growth Challenge

Ft. Mitchell, KY— New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America have selected the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (NKY Chamber) 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. This year’s awardees, alongside the NKY Chamber include: 


·      Bowling Green, Kentucky

·      Cedar Rapids, Iowa

·      Charlotte, North Carolina 

·      Flint, Michigan

·      Grand Rapids, Michigan 

·      Lexington, Kentucky            

·      Lowell, Massachusetts 

·      Memphis, Tennessee

·      Roanoke, Virginia    

·      San Antonio, Texas             

·      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 12,034 immigrants lived in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties, according to the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (NKY Tri-Ed).


“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.”


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. The NKY Chamber received a matching grant of $12,500 from New American Economy and the matching grant dollars of $12,500 from Duke Energy for a total of $25,000.Gateways for Growth also serves as a network in which local communities can learn from each other and share best practices.


The NKY Chamber, through the GROW NKY initiative, will utilize the $25,000 grant to develop a multi-sector strategic plan on immigrant integration that aligns existing efforts throughout the region to create a comprehensive, integrative approach centered on the three northernmost Kentucky counties. Partners in the grant include Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board, Duke Energy, Gateway Community and Technical College and Catholic Charities of Louisville, Kentucky - Office for Refugees.

“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. Gateways for Growth 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. 


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.

“There is an economic imperative which drives the NKY Chamber’s interest in promoting and supporting immigrant integration,” said Leisa Mulcahy, Vice President of Workforce.“Data indicates that immigrants represent a rich potential pool for workforce talent. Given that the number of unfilled jobs is projected to increase to 6,000 by 2022 in Northern Kentucky, it is critical to engage the refugee and overall immigrant population in the workforce in order to meet business demands.”

To learn more about the NKY Chamber’s plans for utilizing the Gateways for Growth Challenge grant, contact Leisa Mulcahy, Vice President for Workforce at (859) 578-8800 or by emailing [email protected].