From sessions on addressing race and welcoming to sessions on economic development and institutionalizing welcoming, there is something for everyone at the Welcoming Interactive + Welcoming Economies Convening.
Below you will find information on the Welcoming Standard themes and their corresponding sessions, so you can begin to plan your time with us.
In welcoming places the local government implements systems and programs that strengthen community efforts and embed inclusion within government agencies.
Keeping Count, Census 2020 – Historically, immigrants have been underrepresented in the decennial census count. Several factors have contributed to this problem including housing/living arrangements, language, education, immigration status, and work hours. An accurate census count is critical for states and localities, not only to assure proportional political representation but also an equitable receipt of federal funds. Learn from Kentucky experts strategies on how to get started and the tools that are available for local governments and nonprofit organizations to encourage participation, share accurate information and assist in the count.
Evaluating Local Government Policies & Programs – Setting goals, monitoring impact, and adjusting strategies as needed are key to increasing the impact and sustainability of welcoming policies and programs. Monitoring and evaluation also help communities know if they are reaching immigrant residents with programs and meeting their stated goals. Learn from two Welcoming America member cities’ approach to evaluation and surveying efforts.
Regional and Local Welcoming Planning: Tips and Lessons Learned from the Field – Having a strategic plan is key for any community doing welcoming work, but getting there can be tricky. From getting support and buy-in from the right partners, to finding the time and bandwidth for a community-driven recommendation process, developing a plan with measurable benchmarks for success is not easy. But it can be done! We will hear from communities in different geographic contexts who are in the thick of their planning, and what they have learned so far. This session will explore creating your plan, implementation, monitoring, and community buy-in.
Welcoming places work to ensure community services and opportunities are available to all residents, including immigrants.
Expanding Language Access in Your Community – Communication is essential to providing high-quality services, yet many organizations and governments do not have the resources in place to communicate with the roughly 25 million individuals in the U.S. that are limited English proficient. Learn how others have made the case for local investment in language access and implemented comprehensive language access plans. Participants will have the opportunity to work on language access plans for their community.
Hitting the road: A look into Equitable Transportation Access – Transportation is crucial for creating thriving communities, and both metro areas and rural communities grapple with how to efficiently and effectively move residents to where they need to go. Newcomers and long-term residents alike struggle to find efficient and affordable ways to get to work, appointments and school. In this session, we will explore how transportation advocates and communities are coming together to address access to transportation for everyone.
Housing Code Enforcement in Welcoming Communities – Housing code enforcement can be a powerful tool to ensure safe and healthy living conditions. Unfortunately, it can also be used to actively discriminate against others, particularly in areas with new development and gentrification. In this session, learn about how local communities are working with their code enforcement offices to ensure equitable access to services and fair enforcement of housing code and regulations.
Welcoming communities actively ensure that residents, including newcomers, fully participate in civic life by increasing access to leadership and democratic spaces.
Developing Local Academies to Promote Civic Engagement – Designing programming to engage foreign born populations in the civic process is a fundamental component of any welcoming community. In this session, we will hear from practitioners and explore keys to success in local civic engagement academies like MyCity Academy.
Cultivating Power Within the Struggle: Lessons from Community Organizers – More than ever, advocates need best practices to empower, mobilize, and sustain immigrant leadership. As community trust erodes, the risks are elevated, as is the need. Come with questions and a desire to build movements that empower, equip, and sustain tomorrow’s leaders.
Safe & Connected Communities
Welcoming communities build connections between newcomers and longer-term residents by strengthening relationships and communicating shared values. They also foster trust and build relationships between residents, including newcomers, and local law enforcement and safety agencies.
Communications in Troubling Times – These are challenging times for communicating a positive message of welcome in ways that resonate with diverse audiences. This session will explore some of the do’s and don’ts of messaging in today’s climate. We’ll explore how to avoid stoking cultural anxieties while also addressing issues of race and bias. Come for a thought-provoking discussion and with examples of your own communication challenges.
Contact Building Innovations for Today’s Environment – Research continues to show how building meaningful contact and relationships between people of different backgrounds are key for creating greater understanding and addressing divides in our communities. This session will provide an overview of three new and promising models to bring people with diverse perspectives together to learn about what they have in common rather than what separates them. Time for small group, in-depth conversations to understand these models more fully will be included.
Engaging law enforcement in building Welcoming Communities – Fostering trust and building relationships between residents, including immigrants and refugees, and local law enforcement is essential to building welcoming communities. This session will explore how welcoming initiatives have engaged and partnered with local law enforcement, and share insights on how to deepen partnerships with law enforcement in your community.
Federal enforcement priorities and what it means for local communities – Let’s explore what federal enforcement priorities mean for local communities, and how municipalities are leading the way in ensuring their communities stay a welcoming and safe place for all.
Welcoming communities strive for an educational system that ensures all students have the support they need to succeed in school and the education they need to succeed in the workforce.
Getting More Involved: Best Practices for Parent & Family engagement K-12 – One of the first places parents have the opportunities to interact with the broader community is through their children’s school. Parent & family engagement best practices are wide ranging and support family well-being on a number of critical levels. In this session, we will examine best practices and promising partnerships from communities in a range of locations.
Welcoming Campuses: Promising Practices from Community Colleges and Universities – Community colleges and universities serve many immigrant students whose experiences differ greatly from international students. This session will explore best practices for serving immigrant students — whether undocumented, DACAmented, refugee, or permanent resident. Examples of connections with workforce development, credentialing, and creating welcoming and safe campuses will be provided.
Welcoming communities harness the full potential of all residents. Immigrants have the skills and assets to thrive, and economic development systems are prepared to leverage new and existing talent.
Cracking the Code: Connecting Your Program to Local Workforce Development – The existing workforce development infrastructure does not reflect the unique needs of immigrant and refugee communities. This session will showcase how organizations across the Welcoming Economies Network have cracked the code in making the mainstream workforce development system work for the foreign-born in their communities.
The Latest in International Student Attraction and Retention Programs – Recent rhetoric and policies, such as the travel ban, have led to decreased enrollment of international university students for the first time in over a decade. Learn about these trends, as well as how local governments and economic development programs are partnering with the private sector to connect international student graduates with unmet talent needs.
From Launch to Growth – Building Neighborhoods through Inclusive Microenterprise – Despite the entrepreneurial experience of many immigrants and refugees within our communities, there are countless barriers that stymie their business success. Starting a microenterprise program that mitigates these barriers and creates opportunities can take various forms. In this panel we will hear from organizations that are at different stages of implementing microenterprise programs, and the role that your organization can play in sparking an effort in your community.
Immigrant Women: The Key to Economic Prosperity – Traditional immigrant economic development initiatives have begun incorporating gender specific considerations to support women in achieving their goals. This session will highlight leading programs that have successfully created new pathways for immigrant women. Together, we will explore how these programs reach women, the adaptations they have used to back them, and the outcomes that they have achieved.
The Rise of Equity in the Economic Mainstream – Equity has worked its way into the lexicon and culture of mainstream economic development actors. In fact, several regional economic development agencies, as well as national trade associations, have elevated equity as a core focus. This session will discuss and define equity initiatives and how to connect immigrant economic development efforts and immigrant communities into larger mainstream equity initiatives.
Building Wealth Strategies for Immigrant Families – While immigrant economic development programs often incorporate wealth building strategies for immigrants, few have applied the learnings from the asset building field. This session will showcase innovative approaches to creating financial security for immigrant families.