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Washtenaw County & City Of Ann Arbor Launch “Welcoming America” Initiatives

City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and Ann Arbor YMCA to welcome and integrate new Americans. Civic, economic and linguistic integration key focus in building “welcoming” community.

The City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County are launching “Welcoming America” initiatives that create communities committed to welcoming new Americans through immigrant-friendly policies, practices and programs.

Championed by Washtenaw County’s Office of Community & Economic Development (OCED) on behalf of the County and through its ongoing partnership with the City of Ann Arbor; this initiative brings together stakeholders from the nonprofit, business, education, faith and cultural sectors to develop and implement strategies centered on three core areas of integration: civic, economic and linguistic. 

“As a Welcoming City, Ann Arbor is committed to building an inclusive environment where all residents feel valued and have an opportunity to fully contribute to the social, economic and cultural fabric of our community,” said Mayor Taylor.  

"Welcoming Communities is an effort to promote unity, respect, tolerance and understanding across cultures. As an agency involved in the initiative, our goal is to collectively create a welcoming environment where all community members fully contribute and participate," said Steve Petty, Director of Community Outreach at Ann Arbor YMCA. 

The City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County join other Michigan municipal governments that have signed on as a “welcoming city,” including Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Macomb County.                                                                         

“This initiative helps build a bridge between new Americans and longtime residents and is critical to fostering both a welcoming and economically vibrant region,” said Andrea Plevek, Director of Washtenaw County’s Office of Community & Economic Development. 

Welcoming Week events hosted throughout Washtenaw County (September 15-24):

  • Fri., 9/15: Welcoming Michigan Symposium showcasing municipal initiatives across Michigan, Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building (8:30am-4pm)
  • Sat., 9/16: International Dance Day, Riverside Park, Ypsilanti
  • Sun., 9/17: Many Faiths One Voice: Prayers for Unity, West Park Band Shell, Ann Arbor 
  • Sun., 9/17: Community Resource Fair, Ann Arbor YMCA
  • Fri. & Sat. 9/22 & 9/23: Futsal Tournament, Ann Arbor YMCA. Futsai is an informal five-on-five soccer game bringing together people of different ethnic, racial, and national origins. 
  • Sun., 9/24: International Family Festival and Potluck Celebration, Pinckney 

The Economic Impact of New Americans in Ann Arbor & Statewide

Foreign-born residents account for 18% of Ann Arbor’s population (20,508) and contribute $19.3 billion to the gross domestic product. 

With a median household income of $51,617 ($1,382 higher than Michigan’s total median household income level); 61 percent (12,509) of Ann Arbor’s foreign-born residents are in the labor force while 3.5%, or 438, are self-employed.

Statewide, foreign-born residents:

  • make up 6 percent of Michigan’s population (610,522) 
  • contribute $382 billion to the gross domestic product
  • earn a median household income of $50,235
  • labor force participation rate is 61 percent
  • self-employment rate is 5 percent

New Americans help strengthen local communities and our economy. 

The Washtenaw County Office of Community & Economic Development believes that our community is stronger when all people are able to fully participate in our community and economy. Further, OCED supports efforts to build trust, mutual respect and intercultural understanding between new immigrants and long-time residents.

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