Updated: May 6
Midway through the second annual event, Melissa Rinehart of Welcoming Fort Wayne and Wellspring Interfaith spoke of the exceptional work ethic of her grandfather, who immigrated to the United States from Belgium.
"He's not unique in the sense that this work ethic was and is quite common for immigrant families," she said. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Law School went through 30 years of employment data and found that statistically, immigrants have a stronger work ethic, Rinehart said.
This was “exemplified by their diligence on the job, their punctuality, their reliability, their cooperativeness, their respect of colleagues, their loyalty to employers and their willingness to go the extra mile by working an average of 49 full-time weeks per year, which is 14 more weeks than the dominant culture,” she said. Rinehart presented data that expanded on findings of a 2018 New American Economy study conducted for Welcoming Fort Wayne and its sponsor, the Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County.
It showed that in northeast Indiana, immigrants comprised a 7.6% share of the region’s workforce in manufacturing, 7.1% in construction, 6.5% in hospitality and recreation, 5.8% in transportation and warehousing and 4.7% in entrepreneurship, with their emerging businesses generating $26.2 million annually in income.
“You can see what the immigrant population is in northeast Indiana — just shy of 5%, a small but mighty portion of our community,” Rinehart said. “But, while the economic contributions of immigrants are unparalleled, today’s more about the contributions they make in our community.”