Bowling Green Presents New Plan to Integrate Immigrants into Economy, Community

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In recent years Bowling Green and Warren County has seen unmatched economic growth and with that, there are thousands of job opportunities locally.

“Bowling Green continues to be a great place to raise a family, to find a job, to afford housing, and so people look at that opportunity,” said Brent Childers, Director of Neighborhood and Community Services for the City of Bowling Green. “When you compare us to other cities those opportunities are available here that are not available in a lot of other communities and people seek that out, people recognize that.”

However, despite the available jobs the city and county are facing a growing number of immigrant and refugee residents who work outside the local area or do not have jobs.

That’s why city leaders are presenting a strategic plan to help address the challenges for the new American population.

“But it’s not about what are those challenges it’s about how do we overcome those challenges, how do we build partnerships, how do we build community so that those challenges can then be opportunities moving forward,” said Childers.

Through research and focus groups the city presented a framework of 22 recommendations that create a holistic approach of moving the community forward.

Researchers analyzed Bowling Green and compiled their recommendations into three categories including, strengthened and inclusive economy, connected and safe communities, and engaged and informed families.

Research from 2011 to 2016 shows the immigrant population in Bowling Green grew from around 6,000 to more than 11,000 and in 2016 they contributed more than 500 million dollars to Warren County’s economy.

To better serve this community the plan includes promoting pathways to skilled trades, exploring options for providing transportation, improving access to health services, and creating new community partnerships.

“The very first challenge they face when they come to the United States is the culture, the rules, the laws here are different from which the countries they are coming,” said Albert Mbanfu, Executive Director of the International Center of Kentucky.

Source: WBKO

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