hundreds of Burmese refugees to work at Nacogdoches company
POSTED: Monday, January 24, 2011 - 11:07pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 10:32am
NACOGDOCHES-- Pilgrim's Pride in Nacogdoches has 4,000 employees, but they still need hundreds more. However, officials there say there are more than 3,500 jobs in meat processing plants within 30 miles of the company, so the local labor market is depleted.
After advertising for employees for two years, they say they still couldn't fill the spots, so the company decided to hire more than two hundred Burmese refugees.
Burma is the second poorest country in the world, and the average income there is $200 a year. Right now, both workers and their families are living in Houston getting ready to move to Nacogdoches. When they come to work at Pilgrim's Pride, they will get a wage to live off of plus benefits.
City Mayor Roger Van Horn says the refugees will pay taxes and rent. He also says the children will go to public schools and families will live in a closed nursing home.
Several members in the community are concerned about how it's going to work--especially since Burmese have more than a hundred languages and dialects. Mayor Van Horn says, "Where are we going to find Burmese translators? We don't know that answer just yet, but they're around. We'll find them."
Also, many of the children do not have birth certificates, so it's hard to tell what grade they belong to.
But Mayor Van Horn says the city and the refugees will learn to live together. He says, "They're trying to create a new life, and that's really what America's about. Sometimes we forget that."