On Monday, Salt Lake County was officially redesignated as a Certified Welcoming place. Salt Lake County is one of five U.S. cities and counties achieving or being redesignated as Certified Welcoming. Salt Lake County was the first county in the nation to become Certified Welcoming in 2018, emphasizing the county’s commitment to supporting immigrants and refugees.
Certified Welcoming is a formal designation for cities and counties that have created policies and programs reflecting their commitment to immigrant inclusion and have met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard. This innovative program assesses city and county governments on their efforts to include and welcome immigrants in all areas of civic, social, and economic life in their communities.
“Salt Lake County has a long history of welcoming immigrants and refugees from all over the world. New Americans continue to enrich our community with their unique cultures and contribute to the economic and political vibrancy of Salt Lake County,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “My office for New Americans continues to identify and address barriers to the integration of our neighbors so that they can maximize their civic, social, and economic potential in Salt Lake County, where we all belong.”
The recertification process includes a rigorous independent audit to evaluate compliance with the Welcoming Standard.
Salt Lake County’s commitment to welcoming is exemplified by the development of its Countywide Language Access Plan, the goal of which is expanding equitable access to programs, services, and activities, in the various languages that are spoken by community members. In the same vein, the Council on Diversity Affairs (CODA) was created as a forum for promoting an inclusive community and government, through dialogue, respect, and action. In 2020, CODA built an action plan to ensure that the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was rooted in identifying systemic issues, addressing those issues, and putting people first.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help of the different Salt Lake County agencies and our community partners. The collaboration is proof of all of our commitments to keeping Salt Lake County a welcoming place for everyone,” said Joseph Genda, the New American Liaison for the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office.