Areas of Focus
The Plan has four (4) primary areas of focus:
Business and Economic Development
The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Economic Outlook report devotes an entire section to immigration. The report states: “Research has shown that immigrants are 2-3 times more likely to start a business than native-born residents. By attracting and retaining immigrants, the hope of the Dayton Region is to build our local economy and expand the diversity of our region.”
Welcome Dayton and the Minority Business Assistance Center are collaborating to reach out to immigrant communities to provide them with business development assistance. In March 2013, the Minority Business Assistance Center offered microenterprise training to immigrant entrepreneurs with scholarships available through the City’s Human Relations Council.
The Dayton Business Journal has created a regular multi-cultural series featuring interviews with local immigrant business owners. The articles are part of Welcome Dayton’s goal to change the negative perception of immigrants and to highlight their positive impact on Dayton’s economy.
Government and Justice System
The City of Dayton conducted an organization-wide language access assessment to determine ways to improve services to residents with limited English proficiency. It is also in the process of translating critical forms into Spanish and Russian.
The Dayton Police Department recognizes the importance of building trust and relationships with immigrant communities.
- Dayton Police Academy training curriculum for new recruits includes a panel of immigrants discussing the challenges of foreign-born Americans.
- It has partnered with the refugee resettlement agency, Catholic Social Services, to be a part of its orientation to newly arrived refugees. The initial contact is a method to build relationships and explain services.
- Through Police and Clergy Together (PACT), the Police Department works with faith-based leaders to build relationships and understanding of both the foreign-born culture and for the faith-based leader to understand the police culture. As a result, the police are able to have a contact within communities to collaborate and resolve culturally-based differences and concerns. Additionally, the faith-based leaders in the immigrant communities have a relationship with the Police and are able to reach them to discuss concerns within the community.
- The Dayton Police Department also works with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality to provide legal counsel to victims of crime in order to provide access to a specific type of immigration relief, U-visas. Access to the U-visa allows undocumented immigrants the opportunity to report crime without fear of deportation.
Social and Health Services
Community Alliance for Refugee Empowerment (CARE) is a new coalition between refugee community leaders and service providers. It recognizes the need to build mutual assistance programs and to encourage collaboration between refugees and service providers.
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), Miami Valley Fair Housing, and the Human Relations Council have a partnership to conduct extensive outreach to immigrants informing them of their housing rights. Additionally, community education is provided to service providers and community leaders to let them know about fair housing law and services.
Community, Culture, Arts, and Education
Dayton Public Schools
- Opened Welcome Centers for its English Language Learners (ELL). The Welcome Centers provide individualized academic support to 70 refugee students through more than 50 volunteers and trained ELL tutors.
- Hosts a Parent University for immigrant families. The four-session program includes information drawn from community assessments and focuses on parent engagement and home-school connections.
- Increased language access for parents by opening a language line for telephone interpretation and continuing its foreign-language classes for DPS staff and teachers.
Dayton Metro Library
- Created a Welcome Dayton Task Force that examines its policies, procedures, and outreach and how it impacts immigrant communities.
- Conversation tables where individuals are able to come and practice their English in a non-threatening environment with community members.
- Partnered with UpDayton to create Take It & Read Stations in immigrant dense neighborhoods. The Take It & Read Stations are bookshelves in public spaces that are filled with bilingual and foreign language books for individuals to take or borrow and read. Their purpose is to introduce the library to immigrants and encourage literacy.
CreateDayton is a group of artists and innovators whose goal is to form and share a compelling vision of their city through music, performance, media and technology. It was founded in 2013 by filmmaker David Sherman and musicians Michael Bashaw and Sandy Bashaw who believed the appeal and significance of the city was never diminished, it just needed a spotlight.
CreateDayton has produced two original music videos in partnership with Welcome Dayton: Where There Is Love and Where the Rivers Meet. The music and performances featured in both videos emphasize the rich artistic and cultural diversity immigrants bring to Dayton.
Dayton International School
Dayton International School (DIS) is a small, private school that is focused on language immersion education. Parents are committed to providing their children the opportunity to learn a second (or third) language in a diverse educational setting.
- Spanish Immersion classes for toddlers/caregivers, preschoolers, a private immersion kindergarten, and a weekend “advanced” class for graduates of our program or other Spanish speaking students ages 7-10 to help continue and build on their Spanish conversation, reading, and writing skills.
- Immersion education for children of all multilingual backgrounds offers a unique education experience to attract new families to Dayton.
- Raise awareness of the benefits of multilingualism, of maintaining or learning a second language, and of an education with a truly multicultural perspective.
Local colleges are developing new programs to attract and serve their own growing population of foreign students.
- Wright State University is looking to create a credentialing pathway to assist skilled immigrants with obtaining professional licensing in the United States.
- Sinclair Community College has woven the immigrant friendly philosophy into its long-range strategic plan.
- University of Dayton recently opened its China Institute, allowing it to be even more competitive at the global level.