Special guests visit SCC to inform on the hiring of non-citizens into the workforce

Updated: Sep. 11, 2019 at 2:30 PM CDT
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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Greater Mankato Area Growth brought special guests to South Central College for a presentation on hiring asylees, immigrants and refugees.

The conversation inside the walls of the conference room circulated around the hiring of non–citizens in the workforce.

IER Trial Attorney Jasmin Lott from the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights division shared successful tools for employers – training, hiring and on boarding refugees and immigrants.

Then, attendees got to hear from the founders of Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP popcorn company who have successfully enhanced their workforce with the hiring of asylees, refugees and immigrants.

One point of emphasis following the hiring of protected noncitizens who are authorized to work in the U.S., was how to provide support and accommodations to avoid unintentional workforce discrimination situations.

"The language barrier and how did we as a company support and accommodate workers who maybe English wasn't their first language and I think some of the ways that both Dan, Colette and I talked about was that we provided illustrations... interpreters... color coding on the floor."

Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP employee, Jokoni Omot, joined the company in 2011 and was given great support to transition into an English speaking company.

“Any, any place you go if people give you respect or give you opportunity to do whatever you’re doing – I think you would feel good, you would feel great,” Omot said.

Co–founder of the company, Angie Bastian, says they made expanding the role of accommodation a part of the company's day–to–day operation.

“For us to become educated ourselves and to also foster a community workforce, so people could go pray, in the same way that people needed to leave to go smoke a cigarette or the same way women need to go pump for breast feeding,” Bastian said.

Dan Bastian added, those who are not hiring the growing population will hurt them in the future.

“Our community and communities around the country are growing and the refugee and immigrant community are a big part of it and I think the more we embrace it as an opportunity – more embrace people who are different as an opportunity to grow as a community, as a business etc., the better we’re going to be," co-founder Bastian said.

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