The population here is just 5 percent foreign-born. Nationwide that number is 13 percent


CLEVELAND -- Cleveland is a city that was built by immigrants.

But it's no longer the magnet that it used to be for those born in other countries.

Cuyahoga County lost the second most residents between 2011 and 2012 of any U.S. county. And those leaving are not being replaced.

The population here is just 5 percent foreign-born. Nationwide that number is 13 percent.

Civic leader Albert Ratner, chairman emeritus of Forest City Enterprises, said, "We're failing. We're failing on what we've been doing. ... We are as a community a phenomenally attractive place to live."

Global Cleveland's a group created three years ago to connect with and persuade more immigrants to move here.

It's had its issues delivering on its goals.

But May 1 it's launching a new re-energized push with a big event at the Convention Center.

More information's available at

It's called a talent attraction push. But it appears to be a rebooting and expansion of the group's work.

A new web portal's been created with spoken messages in Chinese and Spanish and written information in 51 languages.

It's a one-stop shopping site linking visitors to sites with information about jobs, housing, schools and existing ethnic communities in Northeast Ohio.

And Global Cleveland will be making connections with immigrants and prospective relocating newcomers in the big cities of Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago in coming months.

"We've got a great product, and we are going on the road to sell it, " said Global Cleveland President Joy Roller.

There are 70,000 open jobs in Northeast Ohio. There will be a link to the JobsOhio website.

And there will be industry-specific virtual job fairs.

The state is putting money into this effort and looking at it as a possible statewide model. Gov. John Kasich will be here for the May 1 launch.

Baiju Shah, chairman of Global Cleveland's board, claims he has never seen the enthusiasm and excitement the community is mustering for this effort.

A big part of this campaign takes a page from the new Positively Cleveland promotional effort.

It hopes to make all Greater Clevelanders ambassadors selling the benefits of living here.

Word of mouth is what brought European immigrants here in the early 20th century.

And Shah has answers for those who view immigrants as competitors for scarce jobs and resources.

"There is no competition that occurs. There is a gain for all when we bring in individuals with energy, ideas and connections that can add to a region's asset base," he said.

Critics have said past immigration recruitment efforts focused too much on the very smart, very creative or very rich.

This effort is being called "a new era" that will include going after ordinary people who can help repopulate and rebuild neighborhoods.

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