Salt Lake County recognized for welcoming immigrants and refugees

Jun 22, 2018, 6:49 PM | Updated: 7:22 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY – For the first time, a national group that recognizes how communities help immigrants succeeds in business is giving a special recognition to a county government.  That government entity is Salt Lake County.

Lavanya Mahate is the owner of Saffron Valley on 2100 South.  She first moved to Utah in 2001 and her first job was with the Salt Lake Chamber.

“Everybody I met through the Chamber and all the other businesses and business leaders were equally supportive of my journey,” she says.

Since then, she’s seen some major success.

“Eighteen years later, we have seven businesses in the county,” Mahate says.

Salt Lake County is the first American county to receive the “Certified Welcoming” status from the national group Welcoming America.  County officials say the non-profit organization judged them on seven different criteria… government leadership, equitable assets, civic engagement, connected communities, education, economic development and safe communities.

Salt Lake Chamber CEO Derek Miller says immigrants and refugees make up a very large portion of the overall workforce.

“Salt Lake County, at the time this report was released, was home to 6,783 immigrant-owned businesses which generated $145 million in annual income,” Miller says.

He hopes this award will cement the county’s global reputation for welcoming business leaders and attracting the best minds from around the world.

Miller says, “Utah has a strong history of welcoming those with the desire to help build a vibrant community.”

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Salt Lake County recognized for welcoming immigrants and refugees