Immigration fuels the Great Lakes region
The Great Lakes region is an economic powerhouse, fueled by manufacturing, international trade and a combined GDP of more than $6 trillion.
One of the biggest drivers of regional growth is sometimes absent from the popular narrative—immigration. That message is on display in a new report from the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, published in partnership with New American Economy.
“We wanted to respond to the narrative that our region is isolationist and not welcoming of immigrants,” said Brandon Mendoza, manager of government affairs at the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. “We wanted to say, 'actually, immigration in this region has helped accelerate our economies away from what folks refer to as the Rust Belt and the manufacturing decline.'”
One important way that immigration fuels economic growth is by combatting population decline and out-migration. Immigrants were responsible for more than half of the region’s population growth from 2000–15. Foreign-born workers are also younger, on average, than their native-born counterparts, which helps keep the region’s workforce youthful and vital as Baby Boomers retire in large numbers.
“When you look at the top 25 metros in the Great Lakes area, immigration has been a net-positive in terms of reversing out-migration and growing their populations,” said Mendoza. “It’s a lifeblood for a lot of these cities like Pittsburgh, Rochester or Akron, where slow population growth really acts as a drag on economic growth, in general.”
But immigrants are not only filling jobs, the report found. They are also creating them, in large numbers. The study found that immigrant entrepreneurs make up 20 percent of small business owners, and have created over 226,000 jobs in the region from 2000–15.
“Immigrants, by their very nature, are risk-takers,” explained Mendoza. “They’re taking a big risk moving to a foreign country and restarting, so they’re more inclined to start new businesses.”
Mendoza stressed that immigration should be understood as a regional issue, not a national one.
“Our whole message is that we should be thinking about immigration in terms of regions,” he said. “In the Great Lakes region, we really need to make sure our immigration numbers are high and we’re supporting high-skill immigrants, as well as comprehensive legislation at some point in the future.”
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Benchmarking and Evaluation Tools for Your Chamber
Are you looking for benchmarking information to use with your board, staff, and compensation committee? ACCE has many great tools to help! We just released a brand new PDF publication of our salary survey results for 2013-14. This publication is for sale in the ACCE Store. It includes salary information for 16 different positions and breaks down the data by total annual revenue, number of staff, number of members, and other measures. If you are only looking for CEO salary information, we also have a CEO-only publication that contains this data. The tables and graphs in both publications are easy-to-read and can be taken directly to your compensation committee for use in a meeting. For more information about our salary survey, including information about how to get free, anonymous spreadsheets of data from the salary survey, go to our Salary Survey webpage.
Does your board want to do a self-evaluation, or do they need a form to evaluate the CEO? We have examples of both that can be found through our Governance and Leadership Chamberpedia pages, under the Hiring and Assessing page. See some examples here:
- Assessing and Supporting Your Chief Executive: A BoardSource Toolkit - for purchase and download from BoardSource
- Sample CEO Evaluaton Form - Longview Chamber of Commerce
- CEO Performance Tools from Bob Harris, The Nonprofit Center
- Performance Evaluation - Chamber CEO - Using SurveyMonkey
- Performance Evaluation - Chamber CEO (Newark)
- Performance Evaluation - Chamber President & CEO (Tampa)
- Helena Area Chamber of Commerce Chamber Board Self-Assessment Tool - A spreadsheet form that a board member can use for self-evaluation.
- Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry Board Assessment Form - A PDF form useful for the evaluation of board members.
Another valuable benchmarking tool is our annual Operations Survey. The 2013-14 Operations Survey will be open for your participation from February 1st to March 1st, so stay tuned for more information in your email inbox and on our Operations Survey webpage.
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