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Aurora develops 10-year program to develop immigrant opportunities

The new program builds on a 2015 immigrant integration program which when created was one of the first of its kind.

AURORA, Colo. — The city of Aurora on Wednesday unveiled its 10-year Immigrant Integration Plan which it says builds upon prior work to develop opportunities for immigrants and refugees.

The plan, formally called "Aurora is open to the world" also expands the city's international presence, according to city officials.

As Colorado's third-largest city and one of the most diverse large cities in the country, Aurora created one of the nation's first municipal strategic plans for immigrant integration in 2015, the city said.

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They're the only city in the state with a comprehensive strategic plan for immigrant integration. Now they're updating that plan for the decade ahead based on what they've learned since the initial implementation.

"One in five Aurora residents was born outside the U.S., and we believe that the success of our residents, and therefore the success of our city, depends on how well we can work together," said Ricardo Gambetta, head of Aurora's Office of International and Immigrant Affairs. "Moving forward, our plan for 2020 to 2030 focuses on goals that capture community needs, with specific ideas for implementation."

Among the 12 goal areas for 2020 to 2030 are entrepreneurism, affordable housing, job skills and certification, English language learning, language accessibility, public safety relationships, immigrant leadership, healthy lifestyles, citizenship pathways, and cultural inclusion. 

The goals build on the areas of focus in the 2015 strategic plan.

Some of the successes seen under the city's first strategic plan on immigrant integration include:

  • Development of the award-winning Natural Helpers Program, which has trained more than 150 immigrants from 25 countries to be leaders in their communities and liaisons with local resources.
  • Formation of Aurora's Immigrant and Refugee Commission, a group of residents to advise City Council on immigrant issues.
  • Expansion of English and citizenship classes with local partner agencies.
  • Creation of small-business grants and loans for immigrant entrepreneurs, resulting in the creation of 143 jobs.
  • Sponsorship of international trips and hosting of international delegations to promote business, cultural and political exchanges, resulting in the opening of a Salvadoran Consulate, the first consular office in Colorado outside of Denver.
  • Growth of health, cultural, arts and sports programs to build community cohesiveness, including Global Fest, Aurora's flagship event for celebrating diversity, attracting 10,000 people a year.

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"The partnerships we have created, the trust we have built, the ideas we have sparked – all of this requires our continued support and nurturing so we can be a city that helps all our residents dream big and achieve even more," said Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman. 

"This updated strategic plan for the next 10 years sets the groundwork for how we will be an international business and cultural destination, a welcoming melting pot of people and experiences, and a city of opportunity for residents of all backgrounds."

Click here to view the full plan

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