LancasterThriving_Summer2017 - 41

not follow through on their work commitment, or unable
to pass a drug test. "We are giving everyone who wants to
work an opportunity for a job. Refugees are happy to have an
opportunity and are ready to work. They win."
Since that time, Certified Carpet has hired a few other
refugees, and while not all of them have worked out, they
did successfully bring on Adel Jamus last year. Both Jamus
and Suli are from Sudan, and while their paths to America are
different, their gratitude to be here is similar. "I didn't think it
was possible to come to the U.S.," said Suli. He came for the
"freedoms and dreamland" we offer.
Both were resettled with the help and support of CWS. They
describe the support as "people gave us help, classes to
learn English and helped get us our first job," adding that
Lancaster already feels like home.
Grateful for the support, Suli said he wanted to support
himself from the beginning. "I wanted to work and earn
money," he said. "I wanted to be here and earn my
own living."

In 2016, the Lancaster Chamber, in partnership with the
Lancaster County Refugee and Immigrant Coalition and the
New American Economy, released the New Americans in
Lancaster Report providing a snapshot of the demographic
and economic contributions of immigrants in
Lancaster County.
The report provides a foundation of information about
immigrants in Lancaster County that was previously
unknown, helping to replace speculation and some longheld thoughts and beliefs with facts and data. The report
provides data on the significant spending power and tax
contributions of the Lancaster County immigrant population,
as well as their workforce contributions, educational
attainment levels, entrepreneurship rate and more.
To view the report, visit lancasterchamber.com then
"Community Initiatives."
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT INCLUDE:
* The foreign-born population makes up 4.4% of the
County's total population (23,094 people).
* Growth in the foreign-born population accounted for
8% of the County's overall population growth between
2009-2014.
* Immigrants make up 4.4% of the population in Lancaster
County, but are 5.4% of our working-age population.
* Immigrants are overrepresented in their employment in
key industries in Lancaster County, including Recreation
and Accommodation; Manufacturing; Health Care and
Social Assistance; and others.
* 1,081 immigrants in Lancaster County are self-employed
and their businesses generated $37.7 million in business
income in 2014.

Both Legenstein and the two employees credited CWS and
the extended network of support services for bringing them
together. "When you're looking for employees, reach out
to CWS," suggested Legenstein. He explained that CWS
gets refugees their paperwork, housing and other support
services. "They didn't bring me anyone who wasn't ready to
work."
Suli and Jamus talk positively of the process, support and
opportunity here in Lancaster. "Everyone can have a chance
to succeed," said Suli. "Immigrants have a better chance
here than in other countries." And their advice to other
immigrants: "Work hard, take responsibility and respect the
law and rules of the U.S."
Until recently, success stories like this one and similar
anecdotes were the only thing we had to point to when
discussing the merits of immigrants in the county.

* In 2014, foreign-born residents had higher levels of
education than U.S. born citizens in Lancaster County.
* In 2014, foreign-born residents contributed $1.3 billion to
the GDP of Lancaster County.
As we are still absorbing the data and identifying the
challenges and opportunities we have in front of us
to maximize the potential and contributions of New
Americans in Lancaster County, we can look to several other
communities across the country that have taken steps to do
just this based on information and data they have collected
about their respective communities.
Take for example, Dayton, Ohio. After suffering three
decades of population decline, they took a proactive
approach to initiate a Welcoming Dayton plan in 2011 and
in just three years, they reversed their population decline by
increasing their immigrant population by 70 percent.

LancasterChamber.com

41


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