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

(via Flickr/NathanReed)

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.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years. From 1988-2014 she also taught an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. Mary was inducted into the St. Louis Media History Foundation Media Hall of Fame in April, 2017 and received the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Award in 2012. Mary retired from St. Louis Public Radio in 2018, but still serves the station as a St. Louis Symphony Producer.
Don Marsh served as host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air" from 2005 to 2019, bringing discussions of significant topics to listeners' ears at noon Monday through Friday. Don has been an active journalist for 58 years in print, radio and television. He has won 12 Regional Emmy Awards for writing, reporting, and producing. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2013, and named “Media Person of the Year” by the St. Louis Press Club in 2015. He has published three books: his most recent, “Coming of Age, Liver Spots and All: A Humorous Look at the Wonders of Getting Old,” “Flash Frames: Journey of a Journeyman Journalist” and “How to be Rude (Politely).” He holds an honorary Doctor of Arts and Letters degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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