> St. Louis Mosaic Project

A regional initiative managed by St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

St. Louis Mosaic Project is a regional initiative managed by St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, World Trade Center St. Louis, and a 32-member steering committee. Its goals are to transform St. Louis into the fastest-growing major metropolitan area for immigration by 2025, to add 25,000 more foreign born to the region from 2016-2025, and to promote regional prosperity through immigration and innovation.

The St. Louis Mosaic Project is an initiative of the World Trade Center St. Louis and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Research in 2012–2013 by the William T. Kemper Foundation showed that the bi-state region has under 5% foreign-born population versus a national average of almost 14%. This research summarized how St. Louis was missing the social, cultural, and economic value that the foreign born bring to neighborhood vitality, entrepreneurship, STEM jobs, and local schools. It also highlighted the benefit of having a growing tax base and adding a range of skills to fill jobs unfilled by the local population

The St. Louis region was falling behind others in terms of population growth and economic prosperity, which could be helped by attracting and retaining foreign-born of all ethnicities and skill levels. This is why the St. Louis Mosaic Project started in 2013, with a Steering Committee of 30 community leaders from agencies, businesses, universities, and government representation. The St. Louis Mosaic Project has two regional goals: for the St. Louis region to be the fastest-growing major metro for foreign-born by 2025 and for the region to add 25,000 foreign-born people to our regional MSA population from the base number in 2016.

Mosaic’s innovative approach to attracting and retaining foreign-born people to the St. Louis region is demonstrated through its programs, acting as an exemplar for peer cities. One such program, the International Mentoring Program was started by local volunteer Annie Schlafly with a mission to help international women acclimate to their new lives in St. Louis by pairing them with local mentors.

The pilot program started with a cohort of five St. Louis local women and five international women in January 2018, and since has added 12 more cohorts as it continues growing. Schlafly’s effort is matched with Susan Gobbo’s, a Brazilian trailing spouse, who started the International Spouse Meetup Group for many other women in similar circumstances to hers. The Meetup Group currently provides a support system for 370+ international spouses in St. Louis. Mosaic also sponsors the St. Louis Expat Men’s Group. These programs have been crucial for the retention of international families that move to the St. Louis region.

Other key programs run by the Mosaic Project include the Professional Connectors Program which connects 100 work-authorized immigrants each year who have degrees abroad with local networks for career opportunities; the International Student Program which educates, prepares, and connects the 9,000 international students (majority STEM) at 14 universities with employers who need talent; the Corporate Hiring Program brings education and legal advice to companies who need help filling open positions and are seeking international talent for startups or ongoing businesses; the Immigrant Entrepreneur Program offers assistance and referrals especially in the food and high-tech fields; and finally Ambassador Programs for 850 individuals who help welcoming foreign-born people, 45 schools or school districts and 30 companies and organizations who help welcome foreignborn people.

St. Louis Mosaic Project

(314) 615-8107
[email protected]
120 S. Central Ave., Suite 1200, St. Louis, MO 63105

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