Pittsburgh Becomes 12th Certified Welcoming Place for Immigrant, Refugee and New Americans in the United States

PITTSBURGH, PA (September 17, 2021) As part of the City of Pittsburgh’s Welcoming Week 2021, the Office of Mayor William Peduto and Office of Equity’s Welcoming Pittsburgh are pleased to announce that Pittsburgh has been named a Certified Welcoming place, becoming the 12th in the United States to achieve this designation.   

To become Certified Welcoming, the City of Pittsburgh completed an intensive evaluation. Local policies and programs for immigrant, refugee and New American inclusion, led by Welcoming Pittsburgh, were compared to the comprehensive Welcoming Standard that covers community investments from education to economic development to policing. 

As of 2019, immigrant residents in Pittsburgh make up nearly 4% of the population, with 76% being of prime working age (16-64). Additionally, immigrant residents are 27% more likely to be entrepreneurs and more likely to hold graduate degrees. According to New American Economy, immigrants in Pittsburgh pay $1.2 billion in taxes and hold $2.7 billion in spending power, demonstrating their sizable impact on the economy locally and beyond.  

"Pittsburgh has a tradition of welcoming immigrants from all around the world to contribute to the rich cultural fabric of our city,” said Mayor Peduto. “We know that today, just as it has been historically, immigrants make our city stronger because when our neighbors have equitable access to opportunities and succeed, Pittsburgh succeeds. That’s why we have strived to be a welcoming city and are grateful to be a Certified Welcoming city. I’d like to thank Welcoming America for recognizing the work of Welcoming Pittsburgh, our community partners and our residents in creating a community where our policies and programs promote action for immigrant inclusion, especially in a time where our immigrant neighbors need us the most.” 

Welcoming Pittsburgh works with several partners to implement policies, programs and initiatives guided by the Welcoming Pittsburgh Roadmap, a comprehensive citywide plan compiled by 40 local leaders from diverse sectors and over 3,000 community members. Partners include the Welcoming Pittsburgh steering committee, All for All Coalition, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh and more.  

Policies and initiatives enacted as a result of the roadmap are available here.  

The Certified Welcoming program is run and administered by Welcoming America, a national nonprofit organization that aims to build a nation of neighbors by fostering welcoming communities. 

"It’s my great pleasure to congratulate the City of Pittsburgh on achieving the status of Certified Welcoming. As Pittsburgh becomes a more diverse city, and prepares to welcome new families from Afghanistan, this public-private partnership reflects the phenomenal work of community based organizations with the public sector to reduce the barriers residents might face to full participation - civically, socially, and economically," said Rachel Perić, executive director of Welcoming America. “A big thanks to Mayor Peduto for his leadership and legacy; Feyisola Alabi of Welcoming Pittsburgh; and the Welcoming Pittsburgh Steering Committee for their work and belief in welcoming values as a benefit for all Pittsburghers."  

Pittsburgh landlords who are interested in working with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development to provide housing for refugees can find out more information here, fill out this poll or contact


About Welcoming Pittsburgh 

Welcoming Pittsburgh is an immigrant, refugee and asylee integration strategy launched by Mayor William Peduto in 2014. The Mayor’s Office is leading implementation of the plan through cross-sectoral partnerships. Welcoming Pittsburgh is rooted in a commitment to ensure a more livable city for all residents. 

About Certified Welcoming  

The Certified Welcoming program launched in 2017 by Welcoming America to establish a formal designation for cities and counties that have taken action on their commitment to welcoming and met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard. Certified Welcoming communities gain a competitive advantage by using their designation for attracting and retaining a global workforce and businesses whose values align with welcoming and inclusion. Participants complete a rigorous independent audit to evaluate their compliance with the Standard. Both Certified Welcoming and the Welcoming Standard were designed following standards set by ISEAL.  

About Welcoming America 

Welcoming America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. We believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors and vital to the success of our communities and shared future. Learn more at 

Media Contacts 

For Welcoming America: Lola Pak, 

For the City of Pittsburgh: Molly Onufer,  


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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office