Our commitment to launch our Welcoming Cities and Counties initiative has been fully and successfully completed. Already, the Welcoming Cities and Counties initiative has made significant strides in advancing arace to the top amongst localities to attract immigrants, and as an integral part of Welcoming America's network the initiative will continue to grow and deepen. Since the initiative's launch, we have become a recognized leader on immigrant inclusion. We have been honored by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group through the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award, by President Barack Obama, and as Champions of Change by the White House in 2013. This points to the formidable role Welcoming America has played in successfully reframing the issue of immigration as a competitive advantage for cities and motivating localities to take measurable steps to become more inclusive.
In three short years, the network has grown to include 64 local government members that have committed publically to advancing immigrant-friendly policy and practice. Welcoming America supports these cities'efforts through resources, coaching, technical assistance, and in-person and online training. Examples of progress on-the-ground include the following:
Pittsburgh developed a comprehensive welcoming plan through the Welcoming Pittsburgh initiative. Immigrants from 60+ countries helped shape the recommendations of the plan, which will be undertaken in three categories: Welcome, Neighbor! (community, civics and citizenship, and communication), Bridge to the City (government and policy, housing, and services), and Prospering Together (business, job creation, employment, and empowerment). Innovative efforts include international exchanges, a youth ambassador program, a new community policing approach, improved transportation accessibility, and job fairs for immigrants.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder established the Michigan Office for New Americans (MONA) to work with all state agencies to connect immigrants with resources and provide feedback to the Governor's office on state legislation related to immigrants. One of MONA's recent successes is the launch of the Michigan International Talent Solutions (MITS) program, in partnership with Upwardly Global, to work with immigrant job-seekers who are either unemployed or underemployed to help them find jobs that better fit their skill set.
In Decatur, GA a comprehensive two-year community outreach strategy and community planning process has resulted in the adoption of its Better Together Community Action Plan. This plan was adopted in December 2015 and is set to begin implementation in 2016.