In Depth: St. Louis’ New Effort To Become Fastest Growing Metro For Immigration By 2020

Jul 15, 2013

Late last month regional leaders launched the St. Louis Mosaic Project, an initiative to make the region the fastest growing metro area for immigrants by 2020.

The primary goal of the effort is to strengthen the area’s economy but according Betsy Cohen, Project Director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project, it’s also about developing a welcome mat for immigrants and increasing the understanding of foreign-born people among native St. Louisans.

Many of the plans announced by the initiative echo recommendations found in a new report.  The study was co-authored by Jack Strauss, Director of Saint Louis University’s Simon Center for Regional Forecasting Economist, who issued a previous report last year that, in part, found immigrants are 44 percent more likely to have at least a college degree, 130 percent more likely to have an advanced degree and 60 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs.

“It’s exciting to meet with many of our foreign-born in the community,” Cohen said. “It’s an opportunity for me to understand what they know, what they’ve learned, where they see opportunities, where they feel barriers so they can be part of the team with us in discussing how we bring more people like them to our region.”

St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh spoke with Betsy Cohen, Anna Crosslin, President and CEO of the International Institute of St. Louis, and Luis Jimenez, CEO of the startup biotech company EternoGen and immigrant from Honduras.

St. Louis Public Radio Radio’s Tim Lloyd contributed to this report.