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Snyder creates Office for New Americans; names Grand Rapids entrepreneur Bing Goei director
January 31, 2014
Office will help attract highly skilled, job-creating immigrants
Friday, Jan. 31
LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder today created the Michigan Office for New Americans and named Grand Rapids community leader, entrepreneur and immigrant Bing Goei as its director. The office will help propel Michigan’s comeback by attracting and retaining highly skilled immigrants.
“Bing is a proud Asian-American and Michigander who is living the American dream,” Snyder said. “His experiences as an immigrant and as a job creator will benefit our entire state. We want the world to know that Michigan is a welcoming state. We value the cultural diversity, professional contributions and entrepreneurial skills offered by foreign-born residents. Encouraging legal immigration will create more jobs for families and enhance the quality of life across Michigan. We’re pleased that Bing will be a leader in driving this important initiative.”
Snyder established the Michigan Office for New Americans through Executive Order 2014-2, fulfilling a pledge made in his State of the State address.
Goei will be chief adviser to the governor and state departments on the formulation and implementation of Michigan’s immigration policies, programs and procedures. His appointment is effective immediately.
“I applaud the governor’s vision for a revitalized Michigan and his appreciation for the role that immigrants can play in accelerating our state’s comeback,” Goei said. “Michigan is at the forefront in reaching out to immigrants, and I look forward to building on that success.”
Goei immigrated to Michigan from Indonesia via the Netherlands with his family in 1960. He rebuilt the Eastern Floral company and serves as its CEO. The company has become a Top 50 Teleflora florist and now has six West Michigan locations. His passion for entrepreneurship and diversity led him to create the International Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, a business incubator offering low-cost space to young, minority and female entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids.
Goei has received numerous honors as an Asian-American entrepreneur, and has been involved with many community organizations, including current service on the TALENT 2025 leadership council and the West Michigan Asian American Association board of directors, and past service with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. He was the first president of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber board of directors to be elected to a two-year term.
The Office for New Americans is part of the governor’s Executive Office. Its functions include:
• Serving as the coordinator for all executive branch agencies that are responsible for programs related to services for immigrants, and all programs concerning immigrant entrepreneurship, licensing, work force training, education, housing, health care and quality of life.
• Analyzing policies and proposals related to immigrants, and making recommendations to the governor regarding their effectiveness or on the elimination of duplication in existing programs in these areas.
• Leading the Global Michigan Initiative – a collaborative statewide effort to retain and attract international talent – and developing sustainable partnerships with existing community foundations, nonprofits and private-sector service providers already serving immigrant communities statewide.
• Providing assistance related to immigration issues to executive branch departments and agencies, both directly and by serving as a clearinghouse for information received by the agencies, other branches of government, other states and the federal government.
• Engaging in state and federal advocacy and providing recommendations concerning immigration law and policy to advance Michigan’s economic and population growth.
Goei’s appointment is the latest action taken by Snyder to tap the talents of legal immigrants. Snyder, the nation’s most pro-immigration governor, recently called on the federal government to secure an additional 50,000 employment-based visas over five years for skilled immigrants who would live and work in Detroit. The initiative would create jobs for Detroiters and help reverse the city’s population decline. The governor also is urging Washington to approve Michigan’s application to become only the second state with a state-sponsored EB-5 visa regional center to attract investment and create jobs.
Snyder pointed out that immigrants are net job creators. For example:
• Nationally, immigrants start businesses at twice the rate of native-born Americans.
• During the last decade, immigrants created nearly one-third of Michigan’s high-tech businesses, at a rate six times the rest of the population.
• Each international student retained in the science, technology, engineering and math fields is associated with about 2.5 additional jobs for U.S. natives.
Visit www.Michigan.gov/newamericans for more information on the Michigan Office for New Americans.