15th Annual Executive Roundtable to Explore “Immigration Policy and Regional Development in Western Pennsylvania”

March 23, 2016 — The 15th Annual Executive Roundtable at Allegheny College, hosted by the college’s Center for Business and Economics (CBE), will bring together experts to speak on “Immigration Policy and Regional Development in Western Pennsylvania.” The roundtable, which is free and open to the public, will run from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 4 in the college’s Ford Chapel.

Panelists will include Betty Cruz, deputy chief for special initiatives in the office of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto; Dylanna Jackson, director of the International Institute of Erie; Greg Kedzierski, plant materials specialist for Ernst Conservation Seeds in Meadville; and attorney Hayes Stover, an Allegheny College trustee and graduate who works in immigration and labor and employment law at KNL Gates in Pittsburgh.

Moderating the roundtable will be Shannan Mattiace, chair of the college’s Department of Political Science who also teaches in the International Studies program.

Few public policy issues in the United States have been as politically contentious and polarizing as the ongoing immigration debate, especially in a presidential election year. Americans across the political spectrum and socio-economic strata are sharply divided over what should be done about the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country and how, more generally, to redesign our outdated national immigration policy.

Proponents of a more expansive approach to immigration argue that, as a nation of immigrants, the United States should adopt an “open door” policy in order to attract a skilled workforce that could boost the country’s innovative capabilities and economic growth. Restrictionists point to the negative and perilous implications of uncontrolled immigration for jobs, social services and crime in the country.

Lost in these debates and controversies are questions that are idiosyncratic to local communities and regions across the country and that the executive roundtable will address. To what extent, for example, are immigration issues important for Western Pennsylvania? What is the region’s immigration profile, and how is it different from other regions? Are there unique attributes of Western Pennsylvania that call for a more nuanced approach to immigration? How might restrictive immigration policies affect Western Pennsylvania? Would a more expansive approach to immigration boost or undermine the region’s economy and social cohesion? Is there any role for local/regional public-policy makers, the organized business sector and economic development agencies in the immigration debate?

The Executive Roundtable is supported by the Earl W. Adams Jr. Endowment, established by Allegheny College trustee William H. Brown Jr., Allegheny class of 1980, in honor of Professor Earl William Adams, Jr. – teacher, mentor and friend.

For more information on the roundtable, contact Russ Ormiston, assistant professor of economics and co-director of the CBE, at rormisto@allegheny.edu.

About Allegheny College’s Center for Business and Economics
The Center for Business and Economics (CBE) at Allegheny College, a program of the Department of Economics, provides students with experiential, interdisciplinary and career-related opportunities in the areas of business, management and economics. In partnership with the Allegheny Gateway, the CBE complements the curriculum by coordinating internships, guest speakers, employer visits, service learning, business plan competitions and extensive job and career-readiness training. It also connects students to an extensive network of successful Allegheny alumni who are dedicated to mentoring today’s students and preparing them for leadership roles in their organizations upon graduation.

Photo: 2015 Executive Roundtable