FAQ
  • What is Gateways for Growth?

    • The Gateways for Growth Challenge (G4G) is a competitive opportunity for localities to receive research support and technical assistance from New American Economy (now American Immigration Council) and Welcoming America to improve immigrant inclusion in their communities.

  • How does this relate to the Minneapolis Regional Chamber?

    • In the fall of 2020 the Minneapolis Regional Chamber, with support from the City of Minneapolis, applied for and was awarded the Gateways for Growth Challenge grant, making us one of only 19 communities chosen for this opportunity.

    • Minneapolis was awarded research report as well as direct technical assistance, allowing us to work with community stakeholders to develop a multi-sector strategic plan to improve immigrant and refugee inclusion in the City of Minneapolis.

    • Our state’s character is inseparable from the story of immigration, and we know immigration is a cornerstone of Minneapolis’ economic competitiveness. We also know that there is much more work to be done to ensure immigrants, refugees and New Americans actually have the resources they need to succeed. The resources provided via the Gateways for Growth Challenge Grant presented an opportunity work with a broad range of stakeholders and community leaders to create a comprehensive roadmap to making the Twin Cities a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.

  • How does St. Paul factor into this?

    • The City of St. Paul, with support from the St. Paul Area Chamber, was also awarded a G4G Challenge Grant. After realizing that both cities were tapping the same community organizations to inform this work, the two leadership teams determined that the establishment of a joint Twin Cities Advisory Committee was a more efficient use of stakeholders’ time and talents to develop recommendations in this report.

  • Who is on the Gateways for Growth Leadership Team?

    • Minneapolis

      • Grace Waltz

      • Michelle Rivero, Director, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, City of Minneapolis

    • St. Paul

      • Edmundo Lijo, Assistant City Attorney, City of Saint Paul

      • B Kyle, President and CEO, St. Paul Area Chamber

      • Rita Dibble, Vice President for University Advancement, Foundation Executive Director Metropolitan State University

  • What is in the plan?

    • We are describing this strategic plan as a roadmap, but it is also important to emphasize that we want this to be a living document. This is an ambitious plan that relies on the buy-in of a wide range of stakeholders, and we also anticipated that some of these strategies will need to modified over time in order to meet the needs of the immigrant and refugee community.

    • The plan is broken down into four thematic areas – Connected Communities, Safe Communities, Equitable Access to Education, Housing, and Healthcare, and Economic and Workforce Development. These thematic areas are based on Welcoming America’s Welcoming Standard, which provides a comprehensive roadmap for places building more cohesive and equitable communities and fostering connections between newer immigrants and longtime residents. The Welcoming Standard also sets benchmarks that community organizations, residents, and others can use to hold welcoming places accountable and inspire continued innovation.

    • Within each thematic area there are three goals and 2-4 strategies aimed at achieving the broader goal.

  • How did we develop these recommendations?

    • In addition to 1:1 stakeholder meetings, The Advisory Committee met monthly from August-November of 2021 to endorse the thematic areas selected, discuss the most significant topics impacting immigrant and refugee residents of the Twin Cities and develop recommendations that resonated with the Advisory Committee as being reflective of the unique situations in each city.

    • One of the consistent themes throughout the engagement process was a sense of frustration at what was being described as “over-engagement” or “survey fatigue” without ever seeing input reflected in a final product. In an attempt to solve for this we did an inventory of existing reports and survey data to help inform these recommendations.

  • What will we be doing with this moving forward?

    • Broadly, over the next several months we will meet with stakeholders, including elected officials, to share the details of this plan with the goal of garnering support to help make these strategies reality.

    • In the short term we have two primary areas of focus:

      • Gateways for Growth Workforce Summit – On April 27, MRC and SPACC will host the Gateways for Growth Workforce Summit, which will be a virtual event featuring multiple panels to dig into the goals and strategies in the Workforce and Economic development section. Click here to register.

      • Immigrant & Refugee Community Hub – As part of our ongoing partnership with Gateways for Growth, the Minneapolis Regional Chamber received a $15,000 grant to help support the implementation of these strategies. This funding will be used to create a customized community resource hub for immigrant and refugee business owners. We are aiming to launch this platform in the summer of 2022.