Nonprofit Group in Ohio Seeks to Educate Employers About Hiring Immigrants

When it comes to hiring foreign national workers, many companies in the United States are still intimidated by what they perceive as a lengthy and complex hiring process. There simply are not enough qualified U.S. workers to fill all of the highly skilled positions modern businesses require, yet employers are often completely unfamiliar with the possible options for hiring outside the traditional marketplace. That’s where organizations such as Global Cleveland come in. Later this month, the nonprofit group, which works to promote economic development in Cleveland, Ohio, will host its inaugural Global Employer Breakfast, with a focus on best practices related to hiring international talent. [See]

The city of Cleveland presently lags behind most other major cities in Ohio when it comes to the number of foreign national workers employed. Global Cleveland is trying to remedy this by educating companies about the various immigration options that can help businesses in the area, and the city as a whole, grow. During the Global Employer Breakfast, the group will, of course, discuss the well-publicized H1B category. Global Cleveland representatives will also provide information on some options with which employers may be less familiar, such as the optional practical training (OPT) provision that allows qualifying F-1 students to work for a limited period.

While Cleveland still has some catching up to do in terms of its rate of hiring immigrants, some companies in the region have embraced the H1B sponsorship process and, as a result, are enjoying the benefits that come with including among their ranks skilled workers that hail from outside the standard talent pool. David Barlaam is the Human Resource Director for Global Talent Acquisition for the Lubrizol Corporation, a Cleveland based multi-national specialty chemical company and a partner with Global Cleveland. In a recent interview with Freshwater Cleveland, he explains that the diversity that comes with hiring immigrants is an asset for a company with sites in 17 countries. “We serve a global marketplace. If we’re not representing some of our customers, we’re going to be at a disadvantage.” He goes on to explain that Lubrizol, like many other specialty companies, is looking for exceptionally skilled employees, regardless of whether they live in Cleveland or half a world away. “Boiling it down, we’re dealing with unique, educated people. There’s not many people who can do what they do.” [See Can Becoming a Global Employer Expand Cleveland’s Talent Base? by Douglas Guth, Freshwater Cleveland, 27.Aug.2015.]

Organizations such as Global Cleveland are a critical resource for cities like Cleveland, where the relatively low rate of immigrant hiring can negatively impact the regional economy. By educating businesses about the ‘alphabet soup’ of immigration options, and partnering with successful companies that have reaped the rewards of hiring immigrants, Global Cleveland hopes to pair highly skilled, educated immigrants with the companies that need their talent to grow and diversify.


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