Mar 30, 2022 - News

Plan welcomes new Americans to "Central Ohio tapestry"

Somalians wave flags in front of the Ohio Statehouse.

Somali flags are waved during a Somali Independence Day celebration on July 1, 2021 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. Photo: Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch/USA Today Network

A new "Welcoming Plan" seeks to make local resources more accessible to the approximately 150,000 immigrants and refugees living in Franklin County.

  • The comprehensive plan, which we previewed yesterday, outlines improvements to the region's schools, government services and transportation systems.

What they're saying: "As we grow, it's just so critical that there's a pathway to welcoming families and welcoming people so that they know they're very much a part of our Central Ohio tapestry as anyone," County Commissioner Kevin Boyce said at the project's announcement.

Worth noting: This is an aspirational plan, one that's up to city council members, county commissioners and local nonprofits to eventually put into action.

Here are some of the steps those serving immigrants and refugees hope to take:

✏️ Create a mentorship program to connect new families with other local ones to help with navigating their school system.

🏢 Hire "cultural liaisons" in Columbus and Franklin County government offices and make public materials available in numerous languages.

🗣 Create a map for English as a second language classes and expand education offerings throughout the region.

⚖️ Set up a legal assistance fund and promote a database of area attorneys who provide affordable or pro-bono legal services to new Americans.

🏥 Require that medical systems and service providers undergo training for cultural competency and inclusive health care practices.


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