Employment assistants from the organization World Relief drove eight Burmese and Nepalese refugees from Greensboro on Thursday morning to apply for jobs at Perdue Farms in Rockingham.
When Townsend, Inc. chicken processing plants closed around the Triad area last summer, over 400 workers were left without jobs. According to Susie Jordan, English instructor for Perdue Farms, Perdue welcomes anyone with experience processing chicken.
World Relief works to mediate between refugees from all over the world and employers here in the United States.
“We are employment assistance,” said World Relief Employment Assistant Sylvia Bikusa. “We help with training, learning how to fill out applications, everything they need to help them become self-sufficient. We deal mostly with people from Asia and Africa like Somalia, Sudan, Congo, also Iraq, and some Cubans.”
Bikusa speaks English and Lingala, a central African language. She said their agency hired a refugee that came through them looking for employment. He was a helpful translator, and beneficial to the agency.
“They will have a job by the end of the day,” said Jordan, while sitting in the Employment Security Commission on Franklin Street in Rockingham. “From here, they will go on to Perdue, where they will fill out more forms. We help them make sure it’s the correct name and address. At Perdue we will buddy them up with other people who speak the language.”
While in town, getting settled at their new jobs, the refugees will likely stay with friends and relatives, said Jordan. She is hoping to set up a temporary apartment for commuters to stay in during the week while they prepare to have their families relocate to Rockingham.
Some of the refugees speak English enough to translate for others.
“The office in Durham called and said they are looking for workers, too,” said Jordan. “Perdue goes out of their way to accommodate workers.”
Herman Little, a part-time consultant at the Employment Security Commission works exclusively with Perdue, according to Jordan.
“They are all the same,” he said. “As long as they have proper ID, as long as they are legit, they are eligible.”
According to Jordan, all refugees that have been helped by Little are either employed by Perdue Farms or are on the list for the next job.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.