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Immigration economic grant awarded to Corpus Christi

In a perfect symbol of immigrant culture boosting the local economy, the minor league Hooks baseball team launched Dia de los Hooks in April 2017. Only in Coropus Christi! Courtesy photo

A grant to develop strategies for integrating immigrants and international talent into the local job market to foster economic growth has been granted to the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The Gateways for Growth Welcoming New Americans Grant gave the award to 25 communities in the United States, including Corpus Christi.

Assistance comes from New American Economy and Welcoming America, two nonprofits focused on developing immigrant talent to drive prosperity. New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs. Welcoming America works with communities to provide the support they need to become more inclusive toward immigrants and all residents.

“In a 21st century world, the strongest communities will be the ones where all people can take part in economic, civic and social life,” reads the Welcoming America website. “These places show it is possible to go beyond fear and even tolerance for a bright future for all.”

The Gateways for Growth Challenge was launched in 2015. It is a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive direct technical assistance from these two organizations to develop multisection plans for nurturing diversity. The groups also provide tailored research on the contributions of immigrants and matching grants to select communities as part of the challenge.

“This year’s Gateways for Growth awardees demonstrated a strong commitment from local government, business and civil society partners to recognize and highlight the contributions immigrants are making,” reads a news release about the award.

Those contributions come through bolstering population growth, increasing the tax base, starting new businesses, creating jobs and adding vibrancy and culture to the social fabric. The communities awarded were also recognized for developing strategies and recommendations to maximize these contributions.

“Talent and opportunities come from every country, region and corner of the world,” said Cleofas Rodriguez Jr., president/CEO of United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce. “We must do what we can in our Coastal Bend community to welcome and cultivate talent, which will have a positive and productive impact on our business community. We will take this opportunity to learn as we move adelanté! What an honor to be working with our partners and our colleagues.”

The grant was awarded after the chamber completed its first year of successful operation as a combined chamber. The membership, services, programs and resources of the 100-year-old Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce and the 78-year-old Corpus Christi Hispanic Chamber of Commerce merged in September 2016.

With a mission to be “the premier organization working to advance economic prosperity for all business while preserving the region’s diverse cultures” and a vision “to unite Corpus Christi to be the best place to work and live,” the new chamber represents a fresh beginning for business in the city, reads the news release.

Cities receiving the grant are:

Alexandria, Virginia

Austin, Minnesota

Boise/Ada County, Idaho

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

Chicago

Corpus Christi

Dallas

Dane County, Wisconsin

Des Moines, Iowa

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Harrisonburg/Rockingham County, Virginia

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Little Rock, Arkansas

Long Beach, California

Memphis, Tennessee

Missoula, Montana

Northwest Arkansas

Portland, Maine

San Diego

Siouxland, Iowa/Nebraska/South Dakota

South Bend, Indiana

Tulsa, Oklahoma

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