Blake Discusses Community Diversity at Inclusion Initiative Summit

IMG_5076SCRANTON, April 27, 2015 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today joined local business and nonprofit leaders at Marywood University for his first Inclusion Initiative Summit.

The Inclusion Initiative Summit presented an opportunity for local business, nonprofit and community leaders to openly discuss the changing demographics in northeastern Pennsylvania and begin to forge a plan to take advantage of the benefits of diversity in the community.

“Today’s event was a prime opportunity to showcase the diversity in our region and begin to make strides toward becoming a more welcoming community that embraces diverse cultures from across the globe,” Blake said. “Working together with government officials, educators, nonprofit leaders and local entrepreneurs, we can leverage diversity to create jobs and generate economic growth.”

IMG_5091Betty Cruz, nonprofit and faith-based manager in the office of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, discussed how the city of Pittsburgh has utilized a program called Welcoming America to create a more welcoming, immigrant-friendly environment that maximizes opportunities for economic growth and cultural vitality

Currently in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County and the cities of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and York participate in the Welcoming American initiative. Cruz discussed how the program can benefit a city like Scranton by supporting long-term immigrant integration in a way that benefits all members of the community.

Other local participants included Dr. Stephanie Bressler from the United Neighborhood Centers; Dr. Ibrahim Almeky from the Medical Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania; and Juan Mendez from Pennsylvania CareerLink Lackawanna County.

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