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Report: Immigrant Businesses Have Big Economic Impact For Ohio

Many Dayton businesses are struggling amid the coronavirus emergency.
Juliet Fromholt

A new report from the Partnership for a New American Economy says immigrant-owned businesses had a $532 million dollar economic impact in Ohio in 2014.


According to the report, about 481,000 Ohio residents were born outside the county. Around 20 percent are self-employed, and more than 122,000 Ohioresidents are employed at immigrant owned businesses.


Ohio’s immigrant population growth between 2010 and 2014 was well below the national average, but Melissa Bertolo, program coordinator with the city’s Human Relations Council, says immigrants here are playing a big role in Ohio’s economy.


“So it really does demonstrate that immigrants are job creators,” she said. “So often we hear this rhetoric that they’re job takes, that there’s competition, and really I think what’s important about this data is that it demonstrates the value that it provides to our communities and to our economy.”

Bertolo said the report does take into account the costs associated with illegal immigration, but it shows many who are here illegally are in fact paying taxes but are unable to draw any benefits.


Welcome Dayton Committee Chair and City Commissioner Matt Joseph stated in a press release that immigrants are helping to off-set population loss in the city of Dayton and revitalizing neighborhoods.


"In Dayton, just as throughout the state of Ohio, immigrants are more likely to be entrepreneurs, are helping to off-set population loss, and are revitalizing our neighborhoods," he said.


City leaders along with members of Welcome Dayton, the Partnership for a New American Economy, and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce announced the findings at a joint press conference Wednesday morning.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.