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Economic Opportunity and Integration: Nashville's Hispanic and Business Communities

August 31, 2009

This working paper provides a general background on the Hispanic community in Nashville, Tennessee—one of what are often referred to as new gateway cities for new immigrants. It documents how businesses, community and religious organizations and the local government are working together to promote immigrants’ socioeconomic integration and maximize Hispanic immigrants’ contributions in making Nashville a more prosperous city.

On August 11, 2009, the Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA) convened local and national business executives, community leaders, public officials, and others for a meeting in Nashville to share concrete experiences of how to promote Hispanic workforce development and integration. A draft of this paper was presented at that meeting. While our research is comprehensive, it does not claim to document all initiatives throughout the metropolitan area—our primary focus has been on the work of business and the larger community groups.

This is the first in a three-part series of working papers focusing on new gateway cities. The next paper will focus on Omaha, Nebraska, and the following one on Portland, Oregon. Through these working papers, the AS/COA aims to promote greater business attention to how integration programs are beneficial to both business and the community and demonstrate the social and economic contributions of Hispanic immigrants. We thank the National Business Council of this project for their continued support, and in the case of Nashville, our two local partners: the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.