Sustaining those benefits requires action on a range of fronts. We need federal visa and green card reform that would create a more direct pipeline between our region’s amazing colleges and universities and our local businesses. The White House’s new international STEM worker rules make some headway here but it’s still far too difficult for international graduates to secure long-term employment in Ohio.
That’s why we can’t sit on our hands and wait for Congress or the White House We need to take action at the state and local level to support our immigrant neighbors who are preserving and creating jobs and make our communities welcoming places
At the Dayton Area Chamber, we’re doing just that. We help our members navigate the red tape that holds back guest worker and skilled worker visa applications. We help immigrant entrepreneurs to get the licenses and support they need to start businesses and create jobs. And we help talented international students to secure internships, connect with employers, and find work after they graduate.
Of course, we can’t fix America’s immigration system overnight. But we can — and must — support our new neighbors if we want to keep on growing the economy here in southwest Ohio. Immigrants are a crucial part of the solution to our labor shortages, and it’s time for us to come together—as a country, as a state, and as a local community — and do all we can to welcome them to America.
Stephanie Keinath is VP for Strategic Initiatives at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.