Update Jan. 28th: Judy posted more information on the Bates College study here.
Four days ago I posted on a story from Newsweek that said the economy was booming in Lewiston, ME because of the huge Somali immigrant population. Well get this, the AP is reporting today that more than half of the Somalis in Lewiston and Auburn, ME are unemployed. The most significant reason for the high levels of unemployment—they can’t speak English!
I thought the whole story in Newsweek sounded fishy. Here is what AP is reporting:
LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — A Bates College study finds that a lack of English language skills is the biggest barrier to employment for many new Somali residents of Lewiston and Auburn.
The report also cites frustration among Somalis that many entry level jobs require certification that the applicant has U.S. high school-level academic skills. Somalis say prior job experience in other states should be accepted as a substitute for the General Educational Development certificate.
The Maine Department of Labor says the 2006 unemployment rate among Somalis in the Twin Cities was 51 percent. The statewide jobless rate among all Mainers at that time was 6.2 percent.
The Bates study was done for the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Career Center in Lewiston.
So, if, if, if there is any economic advantage to the area due to the large immigrant influx it’s only because they bring federal and state grant money, special home and business loans, and welfare payments to the cities.
Now, readers, please go back to this post on the true cost to the economy of each immigrant family.