City of Toledo Announced Certified Welcoming Designation, Joining Lucas County to be First City and County to be Certified Together

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

The City of Toledo announced that it has achieved the status of Certified Welcoming for immigrants, new Americans, and refugees by the national nonprofit Welcoming America, the 16th place to earn the title. Toledo and Lucas County, which in 2019 was the first county in Ohio to receive the designation, will become the first city and county to be certified together.

“We are honored to receive this special recognition,” Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said. “Toledo is a great place to live, work and play because of our inclusiveness and diversity. We are a community that makes people feel respected and valued regardless of where they came from, who they love, and how they worship. Residents with diverse perspectives make our city innovative and prosperous.”

The announcement will be followed by a week of events celebrating inclusion for this annual campaign. Events include a Welcoming Week party featuring food, poetry, fashion and art, an international festival, a Welcoming Week parking lot party, a class on allyship in the workplace, and a number of exhibits to acknowledge the immigrant community in Toledo.

“We are proud to celebrate Toledo in becoming a Certified Welcoming place, the third in the Buckeye State. As we kick off Welcoming Week, an annual celebration of unity and belonging, we recognize Toledo's work and leadership in bringing the community together around inclusive policies and a culture that enables everyone, including immigrants, to thrive and prosper,” Rachel Perić, Welcoming America executive director, said.

Led by Lucas County and the LISC Toledo staff for Welcome Toledo-Lucas County, the County completed an intensive evaluation to earn the Certified Welcoming designation in 2019, and at that time the County was the first county in Ohio and only the second community in the state to earn the merit.

“With the City of Toledo joining Lucas County in achieving the Certified Welcoming status, the country and the world now know the value our community places on refugees and immigrants who make Northwest Ohio their home,” the Lucas County Commissioners said. “We are proud of this accomplishment, not just for the City and the County, but for all of our residents. Today, we affirm our commitment to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce whose values align with welcoming and inclusion.”

The City of Toledo began working on certification with Lucas County in 2019 and has completed an extensive audit action plan to gain this recognition, including improving language access and having a more active role with Welcome TLC which was founded in 2014 with resolutions of support by Toledo City Council and the Lucas County Commissioners. The City of Toledo's welcoming and immigrant inclusion work is led by the Human Relations Commission, a department within the City.

As of 2019, immigrant residents in Toledo comprise 3.3% of the population, with 79.2% being of prime working age (16-64). Additionally, immigrant residents are 17.6% more likely to be entrepreneurs and more likely to hold graduate degrees. According to the American Immigration Council (formerly New American Economy), immigrants in Toledo pay $237.3 million in taxes and hold $577.6 million in spending power, demonstrating their sizable impact on the local economy locally.

About Certified Welcoming

Certified Welcoming is a formal designation for cities and counties that have created policies and programs reflecting their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion and met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard. This innovative program assesses city and county governments on their efforts to include and welcome immigrants in all areas of civic, social, and economic life in their communities. Participants complete a rigorous independent audit to evaluate their compliance with the Standard.

About Welcoming America

Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports communities building a welcoming society where every person, including immigrants, can fully contribute and shape our shared prosperity. Through the Welcoming Network of 300+ local governments and nonprofits, we work to help communities develop the roadmap they need to create welcoming policies and share new approaches to inclusion that create an environment where everyone can truly thrive.

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