My dream to be a meat packer

Just happened to come across this website called “Colorado Confidential” with an article about African refugees who dream of jobs in meat packing.   And, for those who want to get a broader view of what goes on behind the scenes in refugee resettlement its a good overall article.   But, in light of what happened yesterday at Tyson’s Food in Emporia, KS, I wonder if there needs to be a reassessment of the job prospects in that industry.

Omar, 23, also from Somalia, spent nearly five years as a refugee in Nepal* before finally being resettled in Colorado. He arrived in mid-December. Once he gets a Social Security number, Omar plans to move to Greeley for a job at the Swift meat-processing plant, where wages start at about $10 an hour.

* A side issue:   What was Omar doing in Nepal?  It’s not exactly next door to Somalia and in fact it’s on another continent!

This was interesting in the article too.

Krassin Gueorguiev is program coordinator and lead teacher at the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, which has offered WorkStyles, an intensive course on American employment culture for refugees and asylees, for 25 years. Gueorguiev says many refugees arrive with a utopian image of life in the United States, and the reality – that most of them barely scrape by – is a hard slap.

The Spring Institute is the same outfit that was involved in settling the Somalis in Emporia, KS, so will they go back there now and help them find new employment?    On the Spring Institute’s Form 990 it states that “Grants are received from the federal as well as local governments to assist foreign students to work with US companies.”     At least $900,000 was received as a government contract in FY 2006.  You are paying for this.

As for the last line in the quote above:  “utopian image of life in the United States.”   I discussed that increasing problem in yesterday’s post on Bhutan.  Guess they got a hard slap in Emporia yesterday.

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