Over the past few years, St. Louis has made an effort to attract new talent to the area with an aging and shrinking population. St. Louis officials put a face to the effort to make the area more successful and announced that Betsey Cohen will be the first project director of the regional immigration and innovation initiative.
The St. Louis County Economic Council, the St. Louis Development Corp. and the St. Louis Regional Center are collaborating efforts with other economic agencies to help propel the immigration push forward. With Cohen working with the county’s Economic Council and the World Trade Center-St. Louis Office, she will have the help of full time staff persons managing the effort to boost immigration. Another committee of local advocates, representatives of the International Institute and Jack Strauss, a Saint Louis University economics professor who authored a 202-page study on the benefits of immigration will also be giving their time.
Strauss’ study found that successful metropolitan areas had increasing immigration whereas St. Louis was lacking due to their low immigrant population. Compared to other cities in the U.S., we have been experiencing negative effects on economic and income growth. Strauss also wrote that other metropolitan areas had four to five times the number of foreign-born residents and have averaged 40 percent faster economic growth over the past decade.
After these findings came out, a 20 member committee was formed to come up with recommendations for increasing immigration. Cohen is now in charge of the initiative and will work as St. Louis’s representative for immigrants. “Betsy is great at bringing people together to work toward a common goal, which makes her an outstanding choice to move the agenda of St. Louis’ Immigration & Innovation Initiative forward,” said the International Institute’s Anna Crosslin, who is on the steering committee, in a statement. “I am personally and professionally delighted she is joining our team.” St. Louis may finally beginning to follow the Congressional trend towards including immigrants in our societies and allowing everyone to see the benefits of their contributions to our economy.
If you have questions regarding the new immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.