New Americans

Columbus mayor launches program to help immigrants.

Columbus has one of the nation's highest growth rates of immigrants and refugees and Mayor Michael Coleman has decided to put out a welcome sign. Coleman has appointed an aide, Lillian Williams, to head up a "New Americans" initiative. She'll work with Community Relations Commission Executive Director James Stowe to determine what programs assist immigrants in Columbus and where people are falling through the cracks. Coleman's initiative comes amid growing interest in coordinating efforts to help immigrants learn English, find jobs and become self-sufficient. Franklin County commissioners have asked the Department of Job and Family Services to create a list of all the refugee programs so officials have a better idea of what's available and where the money goes. More than 45-thousand people from other countries have arrived in Franklin County since 1990.