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Doors Open On Lexington's New Global Hub

A simple glance at the numbers shows Lexington is becoming an increasingly globalized city – and local officials are hoping a new outreach center dubbed Global Lex will ease the transition for international newcomers.

Finding your way around any new city can be no small challenge when you’re not familiar with the language, laws, and customs. And that’s exactly what an increasing number of immigrants are facing in Lexington. Isabel Taylor, multicultural affairs coordinator for the new Global Lex center,  says over the last decade Lexington’s foreign-born population has grown by roughly 240 percent, placing added strain on the city’s services.

"We have no trained interpreters in many, many languages," she warns, adding that "public safety is at issue, [immigrants'] health, their well being, so part of what this center wants to do is to be an educational center where people who are coming from abroad can learn English."

Specifically, targeted English – focusing on driver’s education, health, and safety.

But Taylor says that’s only half of the center’s mission.

"It's a two-way street. We learn about the cultures and the people that are coming and they learn about us," she says, ushering visitors through the lobby adorned in artwork by Lexington artists from as far away as New Zealand.

Global Lex grew out of a partnership between local government, businesses, academia, and cultural organizations. The Versailles Road complex houses multilingual services, citizenship classes, and other resources

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.