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St. Louis on track to become fastest growing metropolitan area for immigration by 2020

Anna Crosslin (left) and Betsy Cohen (right)
Alex Heuer
Anna Crosslin (left) and Betsy Cohen (right)
Mosaic Project Infographic
Credit St. Louis Mosaic Project
St. Louis Mosaic Project Infographic

St. Louis regional leaders launched an initiative entitled the St. Louis Mosaic Project to make the region the fastest growing metro area for immigrants by 2020. Now in its third year, the goal of the project is to promote regional prosperity through immigration and innovation.

Betsy Cohen, executive director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project, announced on “St. Louis on the Air” that the organization is on track to meet its goal by 2020.

Since 2013, the Mosaic Project has several initiatives with local businesses, an ambassadors program at 10 area schools, programs for international students at eight local universities, and developed an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Advisory Board to encourage small business start-ups for immigrants.

“[Our biggest challenge] is getting the message out around the country now that we have very welcoming programs and ways to assist,” Cohen said of the Mosaic Project. “I think we have spent two years developing the programs, and now it’s our time to take that message externally.”

Prior to the Mosaic Project, the St. Louis region’s foreign-born immigrants had a growth of about 1.2 percent per year through 2013, Cohen said. Data on how much that number has increased since the Mosaic Project is expected to be available later this year.

St. Louis Mosaic Project infographic
Credit St. Louis Mosaic Project
St. Louis Mosaic Project infographic

Anna Crosslin, president and CEO of the International Institute of St. Louis, has worked closely with Cohen and the Mosaic Project. Crosslin was also one of the project’s co-founders and recently received a “Champions for Change” award from the White House for her work with refugees. “[The Mosaic] project is really all about attraction,” she said. “What they’re about is figuring out how to be able to bring more immigrants to St. Louis. The Institute is about retention for immigrants and refugees that are already here, and also those that we’re attracting.”

“I think we’re doing really well as a community,” Cohen explained. “It’s been a very exciting two years since we’ve really been formalized as an operational group for the St. Louis Mosaic Project. We have initiated many programs and initiatives to engage the community because we have to become a welcoming community, so that in turn, we can attract people to come here.”

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St. Louis on the Air discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.

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