Immigration and workforce summit will focus on creating more inclusive workplaces

24 de Junio de 2024 a las 05:00 ·

Workforce at a dry erase board
The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry is hosting a workforce summit in partnership with the Immigrant Legal Center + Refugee Empowerment Center. Organizers spent a few months planning the event ahead of time. (Photo by Kaleidico/Unsplash)

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A first-of-its-kind summit will be hosted in Fremont on Tuesday. Organizers of the Nebraska Immigration and Workforce Summit said it’s not about politics or policy, rather providing employers and other stakeholders with best practices to retain and support new Americans in the workplace.

The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hosting the summit in partnership with the Immigrant Legal Center + Refugee Empowerment Center (ILC + REC). The two organizations worked with about 15 other groups to develop the session topics and panel discussions.

“If we have a goal of having a welcoming community where everyone belongs and everyone can contribute their talents, it can't rely on just nonprofits,” said Khenda Mustafa, ILC + REC director of community engagement. “It cannot rely on just governments or policy or just businesses alone, everyone needs to come to the table.”

The Nebraska chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) offered thoughts and comments on the summit topics. State director Elsa Ramon Aranda said the main goal is to ensure all immigrants are given full workers’ rights and to ensure all Latinos are heard, respected and treated equitably.

“This is a good thing if it is organized and done well,” Ramon Aranda said.

She wanted to ensure groups like hers were included in the summit planning conversations, she said, so the educational, economic development and legislative resources were made clear to attendees. Ramon Aranda recommended organizers also keep in mind the long-term planning needed to ensure the elements she listed are implemented.

Summit organizers said they have “the long game in mind” and hope to make the summit a yearly event. They plan to host it in different cities in the coming years and expect nearly 200 attendees at the inaugural all-day event.

“We hope that when they leave, that they feel informed and received useful, tangible actions, so they can take back to their companies,” said Sophia Ibrahimi, ILC + REC communications director. “We hope that when they leave the summit, the attendees feel informed and ready to address their workforce development needs.”

Mustafa added the session she's most excited about is the last of the four. It will be when local community leaders from throughout the state discuss what has worked for them in creating welcoming environments for immigrants and refugees.

Registration is $40 and will end Tuesday. The summit follows the release of a study prepared for the Nebraska Chamber Foundation by Economic Leadership, an economic development and strategic planning consultant. The study connected increasing immigrant populations with decreasing skilled worker populations.