Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Press Conference Heralds Open Season for Courting Immigrants

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 3:10 PM


Regional leaders gathered Tuesday at the former BP Building to celebrate the launch of Global Cleveland, a new program designed to stem the tide of Cleveland’s outward migration by courting immigrants to live and work here.

The program’s key announcements included news of a Global Cleveland Welcome Hub, a sort of service center for newcomers that will occupy space in the soon-to-be-renamed Huntington Building (formerly BP) downtown. Hub staffers will market the region to potential immigrants and align new arrivals with housing and work or study opportunities, according to Global Cleveland Chairman Baiju Shah.

Also introduced Tuesday were representatives from area groups that ponied up the first $1 million of funding, including Huntington Bank ($500K), the Cleveland Foundation ($150K), and Forest City Enterprises ($150K).

The press conference was attended by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, County Executive Ed FitzGerald, city councilmembers, and dozens of behind-the-scenes players who helped bring the program to fruition.

“Maybe English isn’t the first language of the people coming here, but after today, ‘Cleveland’ will be,” said Councilman Joe Cimperman, the son of a Slovenian immigrant.

Among the cavalcade of speakers, County Exec FitzGerald was the lone voice to acknowledge the common controversy that accompanies efforts to court immigrants in other regions, mostly involving the perceived threat to the resident workforce. FitzGerald conceded that the course of Global Cleveland is riddled with uncertainty, but that pursuing immigrants is the "morally" right thing to do.

“The area had to make a decision as to which stream it was going to follow,” he said.

FitzGerald also garnered the event’s best line, after multiple speakers were thwarted by an uncooperative microphone: “We don’t know the role [the newcomers] will play … they might be involved in making more reliable sound systems.”

A key facet behind Global Cleveland’s courtship of immigrants is a glut of 20,000 currently available jobs in the area, according to numbers Shah cited from the state-run website He added that the jobs span a wide variety of skill levels. It was not clear how these 20,000 jobs have thus far eluded the tens of thousands of unemployed workers already living in the region.

Global Cleveland will officially commence operations May 24 with a public celebration to be held at City Hall.

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Erich Burnett

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation