Graphic of the more than 50 communities who “make the economic case for welcoming all residents,” courtesy of New American Economy

Long Beach has received a research award to study the local impact of its immigrant and refugee population, city officials announced Wednesday.

The award is part of the 2017 Gateways for Growth (G4G) Challenge, an annual competitive opportunity launched in 2015 for local communities to gain tailored research, direct technical assistance, and matching grants from New American Economy and Welcoming America, according to the release.

“Immigrants and refugees have made tremendous contributions to the City’s culture and economy,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “This award will help us to further enhance economic opportunities for the large immigrant population calling Long Beach their home.”

The G4G Research Award will result in a report customized to the city that focuses on the economic and demographic impact of immigrants and refugees on a local level, including their tax contributions and spending power, roles in the local labor force, and population and demographic trends. The research will aid the city, policy makers and community-based organizations in better supporting and including the individuals and families who immigrate to Long Beach.

“The Gateways for Growth Challenge will allow us to get a clearer understanding of the economic role and demographic trends of our immigrant and refugee population locally,” John Keisler, director of the Department of Economic and Property Development, said in a statement. “This process assists the City’s efforts to advance economic equity and fulfill the recommendations of the Blueprint for Economic Development.”

The city, as an advisor, will assist in identifying valuable data and information to be included in the report. Local, community-based organizations are anticipated to participate in the year-long research process by facilitating community connections, providing information on the populations they serve, as well as highlighting their own efforts to support immigrants and refugees, according to the announcement.

“This year’s Gateways for Growth awardees demonstrated a strong commitment from local government, business, and civil society partners to recognize and highlight the contributions immigrants are making—by bolstering population growth, increasing the tax base, starting new businesses and creating jobs, and adding vibrancy and culture to our social fabric—and to develop concrete strategies and recommendations to maximize these contributions,” stated New American Economy’s announcement.

Long Beach was one of 25 communities nationwide selected to receive the research award after a rigorous application process.

For more information on Welcoming America, visit the site here. Learn more about the New American Economy here.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].