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Companies Hiring Refugees in Cleveland, Ohio (2024)

Cleveland, Ohio, boasts a well-established community of refugees and immigrants, contributing significantly to the city's diversity and economic development. For these new residents, finding employment is crucial, yet language barriers and limited professional networks can present challenges.

Despite these challenges, refugees offer valuable skills and a strong work ethic, making them excellent assets for local businesses. This article will explore common questions about employment for refugees and hiring immigrants in Cleveland. We will also highlight top job opportunities and companies that are actively recruiting from this resilient community.

Are there migrants in Cleveland, Ohio? 

Yes, Cleveland is home to a robust community of refugees from various countries across the globe. In the last federal fiscal year, which ended on September 30, Ohio welcomed over 2,800 refugees from 35 different countries. 

Approximately 30% of these individuals settled in Cleveland. The largest group among them consisted of more than 230 Congolese refugees, marking the highest number from any single country in Cleveland over the past year.

Benefits of Hiring Refugees 

Hiring refugees offers numerous benefits for companies and enhances the community as a whole. Refugees bring valuable skills and perspectives that can significantly improve workplace dynamics and productivity. Here are some key advantages:

  • Diverse Perspectives and Skills: Refugees contribute unique insights and experiences that foster innovation and problem-solving in the workplace.

  • No Visa Sponsorship Required: Refugees are authorized to work upon arrival, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming visa sponsorship processes.

  • Dedicated Workers and Rapid Learners: Known for their strong work ethic and adaptability, refugees are highly motivated to succeed and quick to acquire new skills.

  • Extensively Vetted Backgrounds: Refugees undergo thorough background checks by multiple U.S. agencies, ensuring a secure and reliable workforce.

  • Higher Retention Rates: Companies often experience higher retention rates among refugee employees, reducing turnover and associated costs.

By integrating refugees into their workforce, companies not only gain dedicated employees but contribute to building a more inclusive community.

What jobs do most refugees get?

The employment landscape for refugees is diverse, covering various sectors where they can utilize their skills and experiences. Here are some of the most common areas where refugees find employment:

  • Educational and Health Services: Many refugees work in roles that support educational institutions and healthcare facilities.

  • Construction Industry: This sector often has opportunities for refugees, offering roles ranging from skilled labor to project management.

  • Interpreters and Cultural Mediators: Those with multilingual skills often work as interpreters or cultural mediators, helping to bridge the communication gap in various settings.

  • Agricultural Workers: Jobs in agriculture are also prevalent, with refugees contributing to farming and related activities.

In addition to traditional employment, many refugees embark on entrepreneurship. Programs like Global Cleveland’s Global Rising and Global Entrepreneur in Residence support refugee entrepreneurs in starting and growing their businesses.

Top Companies for Refugees and Immigrants in Cleveland

Cleveland is home to several leading companies that are committed to diversity and actively seek to hire refugees and immigrants. These employers are recognized for their inclusive hiring practices and for providing supportive environments that facilitate the professional growth of newcomers.

Produce Packaging Inc

Produce Packaging Inc. (PPI), established over 25 years ago, has grown to become one of the largest fresh produce packers in the region. Originally focusing on tomatoes, PPI now offers a wide variety of produce year-round, serving high-end restaurants and value-conscious retail chains. 

The company is renowned for its customizable orders, accommodating specific needs from order size and packaging to delivery schedules and branding. Notably, PPI is committed to diversity and inclusion, actively hiring refugees and providing them opportunities to integrate and succeed in the workforce.

Orlando Baking Company

Founded in Castel di Sangro, Italy, in 1872, Orlando Baking Company relocated part of its operations to Cleveland in 1904, continuing its tradition of crafting European classic breads using Old World methods. Today, the company operates a state-of-the-art facility on Cleveland’s near east side and remains a family-owned business now in its fifth generation.

The company actively supports local causes, contributing to area food banks and shelters, and participating in community events. Orlando Baking Company also employs a diverse workforce, including refugees, providing them with opportunities to integrate into the community while upholding high standards of craftsmanship in baking.

US Cotton

U.S. Cotton is dedicated to manufacturing and marketing high-quality health and beauty aid cotton products, striving to be the leader in the Americas. The team at U.S. Cotton is central to their success, providing the foundation for stability and growth over decades. U.S. Cotton values its workforce, offering competitive salaries, comprehensive healthcare, retirement benefits, and paid time off to ensure a strong work-life balance. 

Their family-oriented approach fosters a supportive environment, emphasizing employee satisfaction and customer excellence. This commitment extends to employing a diverse staff, including refugees, who contribute significantly to the company’s dynamic and inclusive culture.

Arrow International

Founded in 1967, Arrow International has grown to become the world’s largest manufacturer of charitable gaming solutions, employing over 1,200 people across the globe. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Arrow is recognized not just for its industry leadership but also for its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The company's focus on inclusivity fosters a culture where employees from all backgrounds, including refugees, can thrive and contribute to innovation and growth. By prioritizing diversity, Arrow not only upholds ethical standards but also enhances its business resilience and creativity.

MPC Plating

Originally established as a metal plating business more than six decades ago, MPC Plating transitioned to focus solely on plastic plating starting in 1985. With over four decades dedicated to this specialty, MPC Plating has developed into a premier provider in the industry, offering comprehensive solutions from a single location. 

MPC Plating is committed to an inclusive workforce, actively hiring refugees and providing them with training opportunities to become integral parts of their operations. This approach not only enriches their team’s diversity but also enhances their capacity to innovate and maintain high standards in their service offerings, reinforcing their standing as a top-tier provider in the plastic plating industry.

How to Support Refugees in Cleveland, Ohio

There are so many ways to contribute to the refugee community in Cleveland. Companies can collaborate with local organizations to create vital employment opportunities, while individuals can volunteer in various capacities such as tutoring or mentoring. 

For those in need of translation or language assistance related to employment, Equity is here to help. By connecting refugees with necessary resources, Equity supports their journey toward full integration and independence in the workforce. Engaging in these efforts not only aids in the resettlement of new arrivals but also enriches our community, creating a more inclusive and dynamic society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.


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