Immigration as an economic development strategy

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 12/03/2004 - 06:54.

One thing is for sure: the topic of immigration policy will be heating up in 2005. The reason: high end labor shortages. jeffbuster [at] sbcglobal [dot] net passed along an article from Newsweek that underscores the point. Our research and technology base depends deeply on foreign scientists. Read more

Even worse, we are drying up this source of talent with a cumbersome, ill-advised immigration policy. As the Newsweek article points out: We are facing "a dramatic decline of foreign students in the U.S.—the first shift downward in 30 years".

In the face of these disturbing developments, NEO can strengthen its economy by bucking the trend. In a global economy that runs on brainpower, recruiting immigrant students and professionals -- making them feel welcome -- is a smart strategy. (Aside from that, the approach reclaims our legacy as being a place that welcomes diversity.)

Already Chuck Hickman at the Northeast Ohio Council for Higher Education (NOCHE) moving on this front. He has been convening international student coordinators from our area colleges and universities.

Last week, I met with representatives of the Cleveland Symphony who are interested to see how the Symphony could use their international touring schedule to promote NEO.

We can do more. See, for example, how the new head of the Philadelphia Bar is reaching out to the immigrant communities in his city. Read more.

Marketing strategies targeted at immigrants runs the risk of touching off negative reactions in the African-American community. The best answer: Include marketing efforts to attract African students to NEO. A good case in point: One of the strongest REI students we have had is Ludwig Atsunyo from Ghana.

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REALNEO COIL on Internationalization

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