The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians connects new arrivals to economic opportunities in our region so that they can successfully integrate into their new homeland. The result: A Shared Prosperity. Our clients find their economic footing and our region benefits from fresh talent and new consumers. Here is a recap of just some of the economic evidence that demonstrates how immigrants help revitalize neighborhoods and stimulate economic growth.
- The Welcoming Center provides services in the city of Philadelphia and in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. Since its inception, the Welcoming Center has served over 11,000 immigrants from 140 countries worldwide.
- To date, more than 1,200 Welcoming Center jobseekers have been hired by 150 different companies in industries such as healthcare, warehousing, manufacturing, retail and hospitality.
- Two out of three (65%) employers that we have worked with return to the Welcoming Center within a one-year period to hire additional jobseekers.
The economic consulting firm Econsult Corp. analyzed the economic impact of the Welcoming Center’s services in a 2008 report, Shared Prosperity: How the Integration of Immigrant Workers Creates Economic Benefits for All Pennsylvanians and found that:
- The 100 workers placed by the Welcoming Center in 2007 generated a total annual economic impact of 207 jobs and $4 million in earnings for Pennsylvania.
- State funding that supported the placement of these 100 workers yielded a projected return on investment of $1.66 for every dollar spent (over 10 years).
A large percentage of immigrants to our region are working age. In fact, the immigrant population has a higher proportion of working-age adults than the native-born population (ACS, 2008). What does this mean? Working age adults are our taxpayers – they pay income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, wage taxes, etc.
Cities and towns that attract immigrants see higher economic output — better job growth, higher real estate values, and more business growth. Such results occur in cities such as Miami, New York, and Boston as well as small communities like Sullivan County, NY, and the rural areas of Pennsylvania (Jensen, 2006).
When populations increase and more skilled workers, entrepreneurs, homebuyers, and consumers enter a city, the economic output increases as well (Singer, 2008).
The Welcoming Center attracts international talent by bringing skilled immigrant professionals to Pennsylvania.
- Each year, the U.S. government's diversity visa program grants permission for 55,000 people to come to the U.S. as legal permanent residents. Many are immigrant professionals, men and women with college or graduate degrees and years of work experience.
- The Welcoming Center serves as an important resource for immigrant professionals who migrate to the Philadelphia region. Our experienced staff provide detailed advice on how to transfer professional credentials from another country, obtain a first American job, and begin to rebuild a professional career.
- Immigrants are also our nation’s innovators. In 2001, 19% of all U.S. patents were issued to immigrants or immigrants collaborating with U.S.-born inventors (Wadhwa, 2009). In addition, immigration is linked to an increase in foreign direct investment by promoting information flow across borders.
Marina Poltavskiy, a Ukrainian refugee who fled her native country due to religious persecution, founded Vitacare Home Health in 2003. A home health agency located in Bucks County, Vitacare has employed over 500 people since its inception. The success of this company is just one example of how the smooth integration of an immigrant into society can have great benefits to our region. Marina’s efforts resulted in a successful start-up company with high growth that creates jobs and provides important services. A shared prosperity indeed.
The Welcoming Center revitalizes struggling neighborhoods by helping small business owners on key commercial corridors.
- Immigrants are nearly 30 percent more likely than native-born Americans to start their own businesses, and they represent 16.7 percent of all new business owners in the United States. Those businesses are not limited to mom-and-pop retail stores: More than 25 percent of the tech companies founded in a recent 10-year period had an immigrant founder. These companies represented 450,000 jobs and $52 billion in sales in one year alone. (Wadwha, 2007)
- Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs in communities that need jobs. The Welcoming Center recently surveyed a commercial corridor in Philadelphia where 220 businesses were employing 900 people. About seven out of ten of the businesses on this corridor were immigrant-owned.
- Small businesses that employ up to 4 people are the most likely to be created by new immigrants, and account for the largest percentage increase in employment among business of all sizes (Fairlie, 2008).
- Increases in immigration have been linked to increases in property value. Immigrants often move into low-income neighborhoods where they can find affordable housing for their families. Immigrant business-owners also set up shop in affordable areas, often filling vacant storefronts and improving the visual landscape.
The Welcoming Center raises the region's international profile by attracting workers and businesses from around the world.
- Since opening in 2003, the Welcoming Center has served over 11,000 immigrants from 140 countries.
- Great American cities are those with diverse populations, international food, diverse arts, many languages spoken, and global innovation. The immigrant contribution to a city’s cultural fabric can raise the city’s international profile – and even play a part in deciding where international events such as the Olympics will be held.