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A. Immigrant Owned Businesses
B. Human Capital
C. Children of Immigrants
D. Parents and Schools
E. Public Safety
F. Access to Services
G. Civic Engagement
Chicago can accelerate its economic growth over the next decade by supporting businesses and ensuring that its workforce is ready to fill employers’ needs. The city’s immigrant population will be a key component of both of these economic growth strategies.
Initiative 1. Increase exports from immigrant-owned businesses
The City will work with World Business Chicago to increase exports from immigrant-owned businesses. They will develop forums and networking opportunities for immigrant business-owners, and provide access to a catalog of resources for export assistance.
Initiative 2. Create a small business incubator
The City will create a specialized small business incubator that provides technical assistance, mentorship, and access to an affordable shared commercial kitchen space.
Initiative 3. Create a “Chamber University”
The City will create a “Chamber University” to train leaders in chambers of commerce so they are better able to support immigrants in starting and growing their businesses.
Initiative 4. Create pop-up City services
A team of City departments will provide City services to immigrant business-owners through periodic visits to immigrant neighborhoods. These workshops will provide resources and services in the communities’ languages, including licensing, permitting, and inspections.
Initiative 5. Promote tourism in immigrant neighborhoods
Choose Chicago will actively promote immigrant destinations to tourists through rotating neighborhood spotlights. Choose Chicago will also work with chambers of commerce and other organizations to help business-owners advertise their businesses to visitors.
Initiative 6. Ease transition back into professional careers
The City will partner with the City Colleges of Chicago to develop options for high-skilled immigrants to transition to professional careers by providing credit for prior learning.
Initiative 7. Expand access to English as Second Language and General Educational Development programs
The City Colleges of Chicago, with support from the City and community-based organizations, will increase the number of English as a Second Language (ESL) and General
Educational Development (GED) programs in areas of high need. In addition, the City will support City Colleges in restructuring adult education to improve outcomes.
Initiative 8. Enhance skills through employee programs
The City Colleges of Chicago and the City will partner with employers to increase access to English as a Second Language and General Educational Development programs.
Many immigrant parents come to this country looking for better opportunities for themselves and their children. These parents make sacrifices so that their children can succeed in school, graduate from college, and find satisfying, well-paying jobs. All Chicagoans have a stake in the educational outcomes of immigrant students: if immigrant students are able to succeed, they will be better poised to contribute to Chicago’s economic, social, and cultural future.
Initiative 9. Improve early education
The City will work with Chicago Public Schools to ensure that early childhood sites are well-placed and well-equipped to serve immigrant children across the city.
Initiative 10. Encourage participation in summer enrichment programs
The City will inform immigrant students and families about summer enrichment programs that immigrants can access and will identify ways to increase immigrant students’ access to One Summer Chicago programs.
Initiative 11. Support undocumented childhood arrivals
A broad coalition of stakeholders, including the City, Chicago Public Schools, and community-based organizations, will launch targeted efforts to support undocumented youth, equipping them to benefit from the Executive Order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Initiative 12. Increase access to college savings programs
The City will work with Chicago Public Schools and Bank-On Chicago to host workshops for immigrant parents on financial literacy and college savings programs.
Initiative 13. Expand parent mentor programs
Chicago Public Schools will expand its parent mentor program to additional schools. This program brings parents into classrooms to assist teachers, engages parents in parent-to-parent mentoring, and provides leadership development opportunities for parents.
Initiative 14. Create more parent engagement centers
Chicago Public Schools will expand the number of drop-in parent engagement centers in immigrant neighborhoods. At these centers, parents can access information on topics like parenting skills, learn about services available to them, and develop technology skills.
Initiative 15. Provide specialized training for school personnel
The City and Chicago Public Schools will partner with community-based organizations to train teachers, counselors, and other school administrators about the challenges immigrants face and the resources available to students.
Like all residents, immigrants want to feel safe, welcome, and respected in their communities. Chicago can do a better job of serving these immigrants – not just because it is the right thing to do, but also to build Chicago’s reputation as an immigrant-friendly city. The Office of New Americans believes that if Chicago is seen as an immigrant-friendly city, more immigrants will come to live in Chicago, creating jobs and growth that all residents will benefit from.
Initiative 16. Pass Welcoming City ordinance
The City will pass an ordinance affirming and expanding basic protections for undocumented Chicagoans. In addition, the City will develop a process to receive and act on violation complaints.
Initiative 17. Establish Welcoming City training
The City will train key personnel, including police officers, fire and emergency personnel, and other City staff about the Welcoming City ordinance.
Initiative 18. Engage the Chicago Police Department
The City will work with the Chicago Police Department to create opportunities for regular meetings between immigrant advocates, community-based organizations, and local police commanders.
Initiative 19. Reduce immigration services fraud
The City will launch a targeted campaign to reduce immigration services fraud, increasing inspections of immigration services providers and providing information on fraud to immigrants.
Initiative 20. Pass a language access ordinance
The City will pass a language access ordinance to ensure that immigrants are able to access critical services and information in the most common languages spoken in Chicago. The City will work to develop customized language access plans for departments and agencies that interact with immigrants.
Initiative 21. Establish cultural sensitivity training
The City will develop and provide cultural sensitivity training to City employees, including police officers, fire and emergency personnel, and other City staff, to better serve and protect immigrants.
Initiative 22. Launch Welcoming City campaign
The City will create a one-stop online portal to connect Chicago’s immigrants with services and provide information to immigrants considering moving to Chicago.
Initiative 23. Create Welcome Stations
The City will create public stations where immigrants can access targeted resources, services, and information, such as naturalization workshops and health screenings.
Initiative 24. Ensure access to local healthcare services
The City will convene a committee of healthcare providers and
subject matter experts to analyze opportunities to expand immigrants’ access to healthcare.
Initiative 25. Encourage civic participation
The City will prepare immigrants for civic participation by offering civic engagement classes and linking immigrants to civic opportunities like board membership and leadership programs.
Initiative 26. Expand naturalization campaign
The City will work with community partners to develop, publicize, and host naturalization workshops. The City will also open “Citizenship Corners” in community hubs, where information on naturalization will be provided to immigrants in the most common languages spoken in Chicago.
Initiative 27. Host citizenship celebrations
The City will host citizenship swearing-in ceremonies, inviting communities to share in immigrants’ achievement.