Inside the St. Louis' area's immigration strategy to boost population - St. Louis Business Journal

Among the dozens of job openings at The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Clayton, General Manager Amanda Joiner needed an employee to handle payroll.

So when Betsy Cohen told her she knew a refugee from Afghanistan in the St. Louis area with a finance background, Joiner jumped at the opportunity to give Valy Sediqi an interview. Cohen is executive director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project, which connects foreign-born newcomers with resources including job openings.

Sediqi worked for American security officials in Kabul, Afghanistan, and worried about retaliation from the Taliban as the U.S. government pulled out of the war-torn country. He got the job at The Ritz-Carlton.

“We’re just honored to have him,” Joiner said.

The hiring of Sediqi is one aspect of the strategy crafted by St. Louis officials to help increase population through foreign-born residents. In addition to relocating refugees, the effort includes trying to attract and retain international students and helping foreign-born people acclimate when corporations hire or transfer them here.

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