The Washington State Department of Commerce has announced the creation of a 17-member statewide work group that will research, develop strategies, and recommended approaches to ensure the state economy continues to benefit from a diverse workforce and immigrant-owned businesses.

Members include representatives of geographically diverse immigrant advocacy groups, professional associations representing business, labor organizations with a statewide presence, agriculture and immigrant legal interests, faith-based community nonprofit organizations, legal advocacy groups focusing on immigration and criminal justice, academic institutions, and law enforcement.

The work group, which is expected to meet at least four times a year in locations around the state, will report back to the legislature annually. Its work will focus on:

  • Developing strategies with private sector businesses, labor, and immigrant advocacy organizations to support current and future industries across the state;
  • Conducting research on methods to strengthen career pathways for immigrants and create and enhance partnerships with projected growth industries;
  • Supporting business and agriculture leadership, civic groups, government, and immigrant advocacy organizations in a statewide effort to provide predictability and stability to the workforce in the agriculture industry; and
  • Recommending approaches to improve Washington’s ability to attract and retain immigrant business owners that provide new business and trade opportunities.

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