September 20, 2017


Back on July 17, 2014, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Welcoming America hosted the event, Open for Business: Spurring Local Economic Growth by Welcoming Immigrants, to highlight immigrant integration initiatives.

Local political leaders understand the importance of attracting immigrants to contribute to the local economy and reinvigorate distressed areas.

Melissa Bertolo spoke about the Welcome Dayton program at the event. She discussed the influence that immigrant inclusion has on economic prosperity and the significance of harnessing the talents of a diverse workforce, noting that the Welcome Dayton process began in 2005 and broadened in 2008 when Dayton decided to become a safe and inclusive community.

Building on the progress, Dayton, Ohio, is now being honored as the first city to achieve the status of "Certified Welcoming." Communities that become Certified Welcoming capitalize on the power of immigrants to energize their neighborhoods, economy, and culture. Certification builds a competitive advantage and access to opportunities to be recognized and share integration practices on a regional, national, and global stage.

“This distinction provides further proof that the Welcome Dayton initiative has been impactful for our community, creating a climate that encourages the social and economic empowerment of all our citizens. The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to the continued growth and vibrancy of the Dayton region. This recognition supports those efforts in a big way,” according to Phillip L. Parker, president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Local and state governments working with partners in the private sector have concluded that it is in their interests to create an environment welcoming to immigrants—and not just those starting high-tech businesses. To put it bluntly, actions undertaken to spur the economy flatly belie those who argue that immigrants have a negative impact on wages, job growth, and the tax base,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of the Labor, Immigration & Employee Benefits Division at the U.S. Chamber.

The U.S. Chamber joins Welcoming America and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce in applauding Dayton for being designated Certified Welcoming, the first city in the United States to earn this merit.