International Talent as a Regional Economic Driver

Global Employer Summit: Realizing the Untapped Potential of Global Talent in NEO

Expert Strategies + Global Talent = A World-Class Cleveland

May 31, 2017


Panel Discussion: International Talent as a Regional Economic Driver

Moderator: Tracey Nichols, Director of Economic Development, City of Cleveland

Dr. Giovanni Piedimonte, Chairman, Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Institute; Physician-in-Chief, Cleveland Clinic’s Children’s Hospital; President, Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation

Jacob Duritsky, Vice President, Strategy & Research, Team NEO

Dany Bahar, Brookings Institution and Harvard University

Jeff Duerk, Dean of Engineering, Case Western Reserve University


To set the stage for understanding Northeast Ohio’s role in the State and the nation, Team NEO’s Jacob Duritsky explained that the 18-county region accounts for approximately 40% of Ohio’s overall economy with $212 billion annually (as of 2012); includes 4.32 million people with 1.94 million workers; covers 5 metropolitan areas (Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Lorain, and Youngstown); and represents the 15th largest market in the US.

Cleveland faces some significant challenges, which Team NEO is identifying as it updates a 2014 study for The Cleveland Foundation. The US overall labor force has grown more than 9 times faster than the labor force here in the region; there are 160,000 fewer people in the workforce today in NEO than in 2008. In addition, Cleveland’s BA attainment rate (the rate at which people attain Bachelor of Arts degrees from 4-year colleges) is 25%, compared to other growing cities where the rate is more than 30%. Moving forward into the future, 65% of all jobs will require post-secondary credentialing, meaning there is a misalignment of the degrees offered in the region and employers’ needs. In particular, 15 of 18 in-demand occupations are misaligned, meaning only 3 fields have the talent they need to move ahead.

Case’s Dean of Engineering, Jeff Duerk asked the crowd to think of the University 10 years ago: “International students were probably 2%. Today, they make up 14-15%,” he said. His predecessor never traveled outside Ohio, he told the room, “but in the past 5 years I’ve been in 15 countries—touching based with alumni, business partners, and entrepreneurs.

“It comes down to talent, and talent exists anywhere on the globe,” he said. The challenge, he explained, is whether NEO employers are willing to join the competition for international talent by participating in the H-1B visa lotteries. “Are the employers here willing to buy a ticket to participate (in the H-1B lottery)? The chances of winning over 3 years is 75%.”

“Data tell us we are facing significant shortage of physicians in this country—some states are missing every specialty—even primary care,” the Clinic’s Giovanni Piedimonte said. “There aren’t enough Americans willing to fill those positions in those locations.”

“What makes America unique is that it’s the creative engine that makes the US the leader of the world,” he said. “It’s the ability of a person to move his job from one city to another; it’s the opportunity—the concept that people who work hard can actually do well for their families. The US is a meritocracy, where people who work hard get higher and higher [on the socioeconomic ladder] and get what they deserve.

“The US has always been in global leadership,” Piedimonte said, “but there is no way we can do that if we have no internationals among us. If we lose the ability to bring the best and brightest to this country, we will not be America.”

When asked about Thinkbox, Case’s center for innovation and entrepreneurship or maker space as some call it, Duerk described the 49,000-square-foot design and innovation space as a place that allows students to take ideas in their heads and get them into their hands and work with law professors to create businesses. “It puts them on a level playing field with anyone else…. we provide resources that make this environment sticky enough to want to stay.”

“The facility encourages people to take ideas in their heads and see what the market thinks about them—will they sell? It’s open to everyone and definitely an asset to add to list of Cleveland’s WOW factors,” Duerk said.

The Brookings Institution’s Dany Bahar told the crowd there are 3 main issues with international talent as a regional economic driver.

First, he said, migrants have the ability to leave and go to other cities and expand markets—and we want them to come here to do that. Second, immigrants are entrepreneurs who create jobs. And third, their diversity of skills spreads and creates knowledge.

There is a relevance for public policy favorable to immigration, he said, because migrants are necessary to grow economically as a country and he pointed to the fact that risk capital tends to be invested locally. He told the crowd that Israel encourages this by investing $7 for $1 invested locally. “Why do they do it?” he asked, “because they get returns.”

But Israel’s public policy also plays another role: it sends a message. “Being allowed to fail,” Bahar said, “it’s part of the process…entrepreneurs need to know there is a safety net and they can start again. And they will start again and again in the same place when they know that safety net is there.”

Team NEO’s Duritsky said that what attracts internationals to an area is business fundamentals. “They want a place that’s inclusive, that has an element of openness and opportunity,” he said, “but we could do more.” He noted that it’s against the law in Ohio to put government dollars into a company, but other states have gotten around their own such laws and Ohio needs to figure out how, lest we lose out.

Duritsky also said there are regional issues in terms of locations, and that the coasts may doing better, but it may be that those entrepreneurs need to be closer to Asia or Europe. In response, other states are looking at their existing immigrant talent pools already and trying to better integrate them locally. He said the report referenced at the opening of the session is meant to identify the misalignment so solutions could be sought. “We want to explore how we can better connect people already here.”

The report is also looking for policy perspectives. “We don’t have a building inventory [of what’s available], we have aging infrastructure, we have talent we can’t get to jobs (center city to Solon),” he noted. So, they are beginning to look at existing bus routes, at how to upskill existing talent, and everything in between.

“The elephant in room, however,” interjected Bahar, “is the immensely broken immigration system in the US. There is a huge talent pool already here that could be exploited if we could fix the system.” He noted that employers are not willing to pay the price for the H-1B visa process and he lamented the fact that the system doesn’t break down skills, but rather uses a one-size-fits-all approach. “Canada and Australia make it easy for migrants to work there,” he said.

Duerk agreed the process was problematic and noted that Case had hired a person to help students navigate the US immigration system and to work with employers to get funding to do so.

--Reporting by Janice T. Radak for Global Cleveland


The Economics of Global Immigration

Global Employer Summit: Realizing the Untapped Potential of Global Talent in NEO

Expert Strategies + Global Talent = A World-Class Cleveland

May 31, 2017

Dany Bahar, PhD Brookings Institution, Harvard University Center for Development

After a brief introduction by Global Cleveland President Joe Cimperman, Dany Bahar, PhD, of the Brookings Institution and the Harvard University Center for Development, told the crowd he was there “to wake you up.” He told the group that, contrary to current rhetoric, immigration plays a critical role in the global economy. His research focuses on how immigrants diffuse knowledge around the globe and create jobs in their wake.

Migrants represent 15% of the US population, yet make up more than 27% of entrepreneurs in the United States. Bahar used the example of Siracha sauce, an Asian hot sauce that has become ubiquitous throughout the US. The US manufacturer, Huy Fong, was founded in 1980 by David Tran, who named the company after the freighter that carried him and 3,000 other refugees from Vietnam to California in 1978. Today, Huy Fong has nearly 200 employees and its annual sales exceed $60 million per year. Bahar went on to explain that new businesses (those less than 5 years old) have created ~1.5 million jobs per year for the past several decades.

What about the effect on local wages? That depends, he said, on whether the immigrants are complements or substitutes for the native or existing workforce. A 2011 study found that migrants tend to compete with migrants. And a study from 2015 showed that unskilled natives respond to increased immigration via upward skills mobility—focusing on work that makes better use of their command of English, or moving to other less manual jobs.

Bahar also noted that migrants consume just as natives, thus adding to aggregate demand and job creation on local economies. And while many illegal immigrants do pay taxes, they do not claim the benefits. He noted a recent report that shows the average fiscal burden of each migrant is about $1,600. But second and third generation migrants create a net positive fiscal contribution of $1,700 and $1,300, respectively.

Migrants bring diversity and diversity builds output, Bahar said. A 2016 study showed that increasing birthplace diversity of skilled immigrants by 1 percentage point raises long-run output by about 2%. For US firms struggling to export and invest in foreign countries, migrants can reduce the cost of doing business by providing a bridge between the 2 countries. For example, he said, a recent study showed that US states that randomly received more Vietnamese refugees in the late 1970s are larger exporters of goods and services to Vietnam today. More importantly, the study showed this is applicable to all countries and particularly for goods that are differentiated, and is applicable to investment.

Migration also plays a critical role in the international diffusion of knowledge, Bahar said, which is good, since knowledge is difficult not only to transfer, but also to acquire. “If I had a toothache, I could read all the information on the Internet and all the books and look in my mouth, but would I have the knowledge to fix it?” Bahar asked the crowd. There is knowledge in books, then there is knowledge that cannot be put on paper. “You want an airplane pilot with experience in the cockpit flying the plane,” he said, “not someone who got A’s in bookwork only.”

Crediting the works of Michael Polanyi and Kenneth Arrow, Bahar explained that productive knowledge has a large tacit component—nuances that can only be learned by doing, and that channels for transmission of tacit knowledge are limited to human interaction. So the spread of tacit knowledge relies on human minds, not written words, and migrants provide this increased level of human interaction. In turn, those interactions spur innovations on a local level and that expertise will spread as individuals move. In support, he cited examples from patent citations, which are predominantly local; the challenge multinationals have transferring knowledge with subsidiaries around the globe; the import-export growth of wine and rugby jerseys between South Africa and France; and the growth of exports from Germany after refugees from the Balkan war returned to their former Yugoslavian countries.

There is vast evidence on the positive role migrants play in the economy, Bahar said. “In the era of productivity slowdown, knowledge diffusion is the biggest challenge our economies face. It is far easier to move brains than knowledge.”

Regarding policy, Bahar noted that illegal migrants and refugees may have less to offer because of the uncertainty of their situation, which prevents them from investing. Conversely, he acknowledged the risk employers take when investing in migrants because working migrants have a better chance to go back and contribute to the development of their home countries and in turn make strong economic links with the US.

He concluded by asking, if temporary migration is good—the employer gets the benefit of the migrant’s work product while employed, then why don’t more firms do it? The answer, which would be echoed throughout the day, is uncertainty.

--Reporting by Janice T. Radak for Global Cleveland

Engaging Global Talent Locally

With support from local refugee resettlement agencies and experts with the Refugee Services Collaborative of Cleveland (RSC), local employers are discovering a new talent pool, finding the skilled employees they need, and experiencing increased productivity. The local economy is benefiting too, with about $50 million generated by refugee settlement and employment.

Join us on May 31st to hear what employers have seen and how you can tap into innovative strategies to create a welcoming and thriving workplace.

Janus Small, president of Janus Small Associates, lends her extensive non-profit leadership experience to the Refugee Services Collaborative as a leader and convener, and will moderate the discussion with:

Hilary Lucas, a job developer with Catholic Charities Refugee and Migration Services (MRS), who will share insights into how she works with employers to fill their talent needs and make connections to newcomers settling into the local community. Did you know? Refugee resettlement agencies can help your team with:

  • Refugee 101 education sessions
  • Filling open jobs
  • Handling government documentation
  • Language interpretation and cultural services
  • Vocational skills assessments and/or training
  • Transportation assistance

The session will also feature team members of Oatey Co., a case study in creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace. In addition to getting media attention for their sustained business growth, expanding offices and a growing team, Oatey is starting to attract notice for something they see as part of their corporate DNA: hiring a diverse workforce, including refugee employees.

Says Maureen Pansky, “By hiring refugees, we are increasing the odds of a successful job placement. We are all uplifted by the determination and perseverance that our new arrivals bring with them. Somewhere in our respective ancestral trees, we were all once newcomers too”

Hear from Oatey’s inspiring team including Human Resources Director Mary Antal and human resources team members Maureen Pansky and Miranda Hixon about the business success they have seen under a respectful and multi-cultural team.

Click Here to purchase your tickets to the Global Employer Summit

Global Employer Summit Breakout: Engaging Global Talent Locally

1:30 – 2:30 PM InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center


Managing and Developing Global Teams

Finding the right talent with the needed skills and competencies is every employer’s challenge, as is the need to find new markets for business growth. This typically means finding and/or moving global talent from one place to another—a feat many employers find daunting. But resources are available to help you not only develop a global team but manage offices and people across borders and cultures. This interactive panel discussion with local and international experts will address the current state of global workforce mobility and provide details on the types of resources available to support this critical component of workforce development.

Bob Rosing, President and CEO of Cleveland-based Dwellworks, will moderate the panel. Dwellworks supports the mobility of other companies’ talent while managing offices and people across borders and cultures itself. In doing so, Dwellworks not only walks the walk, they must talk the talk. Their secret sauce? A unified global culture that allows offices in the US, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and now Hong Kong to all be on the same page.

Joining Bob on this panel are experts within the global mobility industry who will speak to a range of topics and perspectives on sourcing, managing, and moving talent on a global scale.

Robert Horsley, Executive Director of Fragomen and current Chairman of the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (Worldwide ERC®), is well known for his openness to change and his innovative initiatives in mobile workforce programs. At Fragomen, he helps clients adapt and integrate their different cultures and work models that allow companies to thrive in today’s ever-evolving markets. Through his work with Worldwide ERC, he helps the global not-for-profit find new and innovative ways to connect mobility professionals across the globe and to serve as the voice, the marketplace, and the source for talent management and global mobility knowledge, worldwide. Robert will offer insights into current trends on today’s global mobility and where to expect the next wave of activity.

Dean Foster, Founder and Principal at Dean Foster Global and Strategic Advisor at Dwellworks Intercultural Solutions, has been providing intercultural training and consulting to the international mobility and training and development industry for more than 20 years. The author of several books, Dean writes the monthly “CultureWise” column for National Geographic Traveler Magazine. He is on the faculty of American University, Intercultural Management Institute, and also serves as guest lecturer and faculty for Harvard Business School, Columbia University School of Business, and Darden Business School. His work has taken him to nearly 100 countries. Dean will focus on the skills professionals need to be successful in the global marketplace and how companies can use cultural competency as a hedge against business risk.

As Senior Director of Global Mobility and Global Human Resources at the Cleveland Clinic, Scott Chmielowicz collaborates with key internal and external stakeholders to develop and maintain the Clinic’s expanding global mobility strategy, policies, and processes to maximize program effectiveness and minimize cost. He provides end-to-end support for the international assignee population including business travelers, long- and short-term assignees, local hires, and transfers. Scott will address how the Clinic manages its core culture to attract and retain high value talent—both in Cleveland and its growing number of global facilities. He will also address the objections he has to rebut or overcome in order to attract global talent to Cleveland…or Florida…or Dubai.

Shana Zollar, Vice President of Human Resources at Dwellworks, has overseen the company’s steady growth for nearly 10 years. Her specialty, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business, is the handling of the HR maze during international acquisitions. Indeed, she was recognized for acclimating three companies from outside the US into the Dwellworks family within a 5-month time period. Shana will address what’s involved in nurturing a global culture, as well as transition points for moving from a US-focused organization to a global business. She will also address best practices for blending lessons from acquisitions in new markets into the overall corporate culture to keep the whole enterprise in tune with latest trends.

The session will conclude with an audience Q&A.

Click Here to purchase your tickets to the Global Employer Summit

Global Employer Summit Breakout: Managing and Developing Global Teams

2:30 – 3:30 PM InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center

Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy

From the sidewalk of West 46th street, Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy may fit the image of a typical school for young children. But take one step into the building and any visitor will be instantly immersed in a unique, welcoming environment bursting with various cultures, languages, and customs from all across the world.

The school, which has grown from 605 students since the first day of classes in August 2016 to 980 students in May 2017, boasts a diverse population of students coming from 47 different countries and speaking 28 different languages. With such a unique student community, the International Newcomers Academy’s primary objective is to develop language skills and academic content with a diverse multilingual population. The students, who are immigrants or refugees, may stay enrolled at Thomas Jefferson for a maximum of two years unless they have already reached high school grades. According to Marisol Burgos, principal of the International Newcomers Academy, over 85% of the high school students decide to stay at the school. At the conclusion of the 2016-2017 school year, 42 students will be graduating from the 12th grade.

At Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy, there are a multitude of programs and services offered to assist in acclimating the students to the different languages and customs of their new country. Free tutoring is offered after school K-12, and guest speakers, including judges and lawyers among other professionals, frequently visit the school to educate students as well. Additionally, there is no age cap for students seeking admittance to the school, and no prospective student is ever turned away.

Furthermore, with nearly all of the students having no access to computers at their homes, the International Newcomers Academy offers students the opportunity to utilize computer-based programs, such as Imagine Learning, which is an interactive language and literacy software program, to enhance their learning experience. Courses covering constitutional law and financial literacy are also offered to the upper level students as well.

Coming off a year of significant growth, the Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy hopes to expand its impact farther into the school’s surrounding community, and moreover aspires to continue expanding the opportunities offered to students for years to come. To learn more about the Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy visit



Written By: Michael Ittu

Creating a Globally Competitive [Tech] Team

Innovative startups, tech companies, and corporations are taking steps to mirror their global business strategy with a globally competitive workforce.

In the session with and JumpStart at this year’s Global Employer Summit, panelists will share innovative ways Northeast Ohio is competing and how employers can lead the charge in global talent inclusion., a national leader in advocating for business-driven immigration policy, is hosting this session. Speakers will share practical ways your organization can become a more globally competitive workplace right here in Northeast Ohio.

Angie Kilgore, JumpStart’s manager of recruiting and community engagement for entrepreneurial talent, will moderate a frank discussion with the following experts:
Xu Lang, Director of Global Investor Relations with FlashStarts, will discuss why and how global entrepreneurs are coming to Cleveland; she’ll also share ways employers can tap into international, entrepreneurial talents – and who might qualify for alternative immigration pathways from the traditional H1B visa.

David Wintrich, Co-founder and Chief Academic Officer of Tech Elevator knows what it takes to find the best tech talent; his experience with Fortune 500 companies and at Tech Elevator has given David the opportunity to interview, hire and mentor dozens of programmers. He’ll share how he recruits top talent around the world to drive our regional tech workforce forward – and how your organization can also find qualified talent.

Cortney McDevitt will share her insights from working in People Operations and Engagement with top companies including Lyft and Shutterfly. She’ll share what Northeast Ohio employers can learn from West Coast tech.

Finally, Daniel Dudley, Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer at Infinite Arthroscopy Inc. (IAI) will share thoughts on the criticality of global perspectives for a successful venture, especially at the pre-revenue “start-up” phase – Daniel will share some of best practices and starting points to fostering a culture and establishing a team that incorporates global talent and expertise.


Click Here to purchase your tickets to the Global Employer Summit


Does our organization have a plan for global talent inclusion? Interested in knowing the best practices to build an innovative tech team? Let us know here!

The Business Case for International Hires

When does an international hire make the most sense for your bottom line?

In the session with Thompson Hine at this year’s Global Employer Summit, Partner Sarah Flannery will break down scenarios she has seen with client companies to increase their business success and save money, by strategically bringing on the global talent they need.


Flannery shares, “We’ve seen several instances where bringing someone on directly made more financial sense. Organizations that overlook this possibility might be missing out on substantial savings and growth opportunities.”

Get ready to challenge common ideas about contracting services or directly bringing on new hires, recruitment strategies, or investing in employment-based sponsorship.

Sarah will be joined by Team NEO’s regional talent manager, Mike Stanton, who will also share his past experience as an HR leader making hiring decisions. As someone who has faced these challenges first-hand, he will offer candid insights into when it makes sense to invest in new hires.

International hires are not be the only source of talent for your organization; but if you are overlooking international hires because of fears about sponsorship costs, you might actually be wasting money in the long run and passing on the talent your company needs.


Click Here to purchase your tickets to the Global Employer Summit

Global Employer Summit Breakout: The Business Case for International Hires

2:30 – 3:30 PM InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center

Questions about ways that employers are finding a competitive edge through engaging with global talent? Let us know in the comment section below!

Immigration Trends for Globally Competitive Organizations

Are you ready to hire the best talent, no matter where they are in the world?


Joining the Global Employer Summit on May 31st will be Envoy, an innovative firm that makes it seamless for companies to hire and manage a global workforce.

Organizations across the U.S. are hiring and investing in international talent; Envoy will break down employer practices and highlight areas your organization should focus on to compete in a global marketplace.

Sarah Maxwell, Head of Global Immigration, Envoy, knows that “companies require for their global workforce flexible support and innovative solutions that evolve with technology and the market.” She will join Gretchen Keefner, Vice President of Sales, Envoy, to also answer practical questions for companies looking to gain an understanding of the various visas available to employers looking to hire global talent.

Join Global Cleveland, Envoy and select companies at the Global Employer Summit to learn the steps you can take today to create a globally competitive approach to talent.


Do you have specific questions about visas?

Wondering what other organizations are doing to bring on global talent?

Submit your questions below for us to answer, and join us for the full conversation on May 31st.


Click Here to purchase your tickets to the Global Employer Summit

Global Employer Summit Breakout: Immigration Trends for Globally Competitive Organizations

1:30 - 2:30 PM InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center

State of Downtown

2016 was a big win not just for the Cavs but also for the city of Cleveland. Downtown Cleveland had the opportunity to host the Republican National Convention, the newly transformed Public Square was unveiled, the Indians made a World Series appearance, and of course, to top it all off, the Cavs NBA Championship.

Clevelanders are anxiously waiting what 2017 has in store.

Before we rush into our expectations for 2017 let’s have a discussion on how the foreign-born population affects our beloved city. The city of Cleveland has thrived because of the importance of foreign-born population who has supplied the labor and entrepreneurial abilities needed for any city’s growth.

Ohio’s immigrant population has grown by 2.5 percent between 2010 and 2014. Today, Ohio is home to over 480,000 foreign-born residents. In 2014, immigrants in Ohio earned $15.6 billion and donated $4.4 billion in local, state, and federal taxes that year. ( Foreign-born workers make up 6.7 percent of all entrepreneurs in the State of Ohio despite only accounting for 4.2 percent of the population.

Immigration is a hot topic right now; after all it takes courage and faith to move to a different country with the hopes of making it and fitting into society. The hope of a foreign-born should show the U.S population how determined immigrants are, in addition to how they benefit the community from their hard work, not in the least by creating new businesses, and by generating income and taxes. With new amenities flowing around Downtown Cleveland more immigrants will continue to find their way to Northeast Ohio and call the Greater Cleveland area home.

For people who migrate from other countries and choose to call Cleveland home these contributions show that Clevelanders have acknowledged the fact that foreign-born residents have assisted with the growth of the economy and are welcomed in the city. A diverse city like Cleveland has various businesses, in particular, restaurants. Clevelanders are known as foodies so it would only be fitting to have extraordinary restaurants from all corners of the world, challenging Clevelanders to explore new foods, countries, and restaurants. The city is dependent on the capability to incorporate new citizens in order to spur technology, innovation, and economic development in order to compete in a highly skilled global economy.

It is not enough to look to history with regards to the importance of foreign-born population, instead, join the conversation on how immigration and international residents can create jobs and influence an energetic 24/7 downtown Cleveland.

To learn more about the impact foreign-born residents in the United Sates head over to The City Club of Cleveland, March 28 from 4p.m-6p.m for The State of Downtown.



Chiamaka Uwagba, Research Associate, Global Cleveland