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2017-2018 Strategic Action Plan

The Kansas City metro area was among 20 Gateways for Growth communities selected in late 2015 by a national partnership between the New American Economy and Welcoming America. The Gateways for Growth program provided technical assistance in the development of a multi-sector strategic plan for welcoming and integrating new Americans to the region. Selected communities are part of a national trend in which local government, business and civil society leaders embrace research showing that being inclusive toward immigrants helps cities and counties thrive economically.  A Steering Committee met a number of times to inform this action plan, and will have an important role in overseeing its implementation.


A region comprised of local communities where all people, regardless of background, heritage or culture, are valued and included.


Create a welcoming and encouraging climate attractive to current and future residents, including immigrants and international students. Offer a region where those recently arriving in the community want to study, resettle, and contribute to the economic and cultural life of the community.


  1. Create a Welcoming Climate:

Objective 1: Assist local governments to become welcoming to immigrants to ensure that all residents, particularly those new to the United States and to the Kansas City region, feel welcome and respected.

Objective 2: Ensure that all residents have access to city services and opportunities by removing barriers and encouraging participation.

  1. Economic Opportunity and Education:

Ensure that all newcomers have the skills, resources and education to thrive, and employers are able to leverage the talents of the workforce.

Objective 1: Work with higher education to support international students’ success in achieving post-secondary attainment and employment in the metro area. Make businesses and the general community aware of the current challenges facing high education in attracting and retaining international students. Look at models such as Mosaic in St. Louis and Global Cleveland.

Objective 2: Work with higher education and business partners to attract and retain international students to the Kansas City colleges and universities.

Objective 3: Help area employers understand federal immigration rules in the hiring of international student interns and graduates

Objective 4: Increase entrepreneurship among immigrants by offering multi-lingual training, microfinance and business incubation support services (i.e., Hispanic Economic Development Council)

Objective 5: Support immigrants to utilize their professional talents in achieving economic success to re-enter professions through career planning, mentoring, or support through licensing processes.

  1. Safe Communities: 

Objective 1: Build trust between communities and law enforcement.

  1. Civic Engagement: 

Objective 1: Increase public awareness about existing pathways to citizenship, support immigrants in integrating into the community, and encouraging civic engagement.

Prepared by Mid-America Regional Council

September 5, 2017