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The Sound of Ideas

Investing in Immigration

Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009

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A lot of Rust Belt cities share the same challenges--shrinking population and high unemployment--but some cities are finding a simple solution that brings money and jobs. Both Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, to name two, have begun aggressively courting immigrant entrepreneurs. Leaders in those cities say their efforts are paying off in hefty financial investments and the kind of high paying new jobs people would like to see here. Tuesday morning at 9:00, join host Dan Moulthrop for a conversation about how immigrants might be key to rebuilding the region.


Economy, Regional Economy/Business - Analysis and Trends, Regional Economy/Business - News, Government/Politics, Other, Immigration


John Austin Brookings Institution
Richard Herman immigration attorney, co-author Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and how they will save the American worker)
Reka Barabash Executive Director TiE Ohio
Ratanjit Sondhe entrepreneur, author, board member Cleveland Foundation

Additional Information

TiE Ohio celebrates its one-year anniversary Thursday evening at Case Western Reserve University. Tech entrepreneur Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande will deliver the keynote.

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Terry Caryer 9:31 AM 10/13/09

In the early 1900’s when people immigrated they had classes. I still have my grandmother’s mother’s citizenship books. Do they do this anymore? Most American’s are very frustrated with immigrants that don’t even try to speak English. My grandmother learned English. When I travel to foreign countries I try to learn a few key phrases so I can get around for a week. Some of these folks live here for YEARs and never learn english.

Gene 9:44 AM 10/13/09

Forget brain drain (the biggest red herring there ever was): Don’t worry about exporting college graduates from here. They will emigrate in droves because there are limited opportunities. (A minimum of 6 people looking for every job available.) Instead: focus on brain recruitment.

The Cleveland area has a glut of housing, foreclosed and otherwise vacant. Fantastic environmental, cultural and other advantages. A decent reputation (dating back more than a century) of being an immigrant-friendly destination. And hundreds and thousands of people graduating from universities in China, India and elsewhere, in a crowded marketplace.

This is a slam dunk.

NEO politicians and foundations should set up residence in Bangalore and Beijing, enticing graduates in engineering, science and other specialties (or anyone with any viable business plan). Offer tax incentives and housing vouchers, and programmatic assistance with networking and other cultural and social assistance.  And do this now.

If the governments can’t be proactive or agile and flexible enough to get this done, certainly one hopes the foundations can get their act(s) together and make something happen.

Brain drain is dead: Long live brain recruitment…

Gene Sasso

Mansfield Frazier 10:03 AM 10/13/09

A concerted effort has to be made to convince minorities and others (such as laid-off auto workers) that bringing new immigrant talent to the area will not rob those already here of jobs. In fact, they will create additional jobs.
As Charles Michener said, maybe we should call them “foreign investors” instead.

Rosalie Brown 10:04 AM 10/13/09

1) All people on an immigrants track should get the help they need to succeed
2) All of us are immigrants, save Native Americans
3) I find it offensive to talk about judging their future contributions in deciding who becomes an American.  Isn’t America a country of equal opportunity? For every immigrant we “cherry pick” there would be one that is displaced. What about “Give us your tired, your poor...”?

Roman Fedorko 10:39 AM 10/13/09

Good morning Dan and guests,

I am glad that you are discussing the issues of Investing in Immigration in our region.
I just met Richard Herman of Immigration Inc. this past Saturday at 4th Annual Summit on the State of the International Community in Northeast Ohio (Oct. 10th at Western Reserve Historical Society) where he talked about his book he co-wrote with Robert Smith.
Richard and other summit attendees, incl. Kenneth Kovach, Executive Director of the International Community Council, also discussed ideas about how to attract more immigrants to our area, and most importantly how to make our region more welcoming to international businesses.

One of the main ideas coming out of the summit was a Proposal for Creation of International Welcome Center and Network in cooperation with City of Cleveland Sister Cities International Relationships, which have direct relationships to many great cities throughout the World.


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