January 7, 2009


League of Women Voters will explore immigration in Dare County  


The League of Women Voters will sponsor a panel on “Immigration: Economic Impact in Dare County” on Thursday, Jan. 15, from 1 until 3 p.m. at the Pitts Center, 5377 Virginia Dare Trail in Southern Shores.

The program is open to the public as part of the education mission of the League of Women Voters. The league also invites the public to join its members for a box lunch before the program at 12:30 p.m. The cost of lunch is $10. Those who are interested must RSVP to Connie Cogger, at 261-3599, or by email at [email protected]  by Jan. 12.

There are two panel presentations.

The Labor Force Panel of local experts will be owners or representatives from the major industry groups in Dare County. The industries included are real estate, restaurants, home building, retail, boat building, fishing, and landscaping. Amy Huggins will moderate this panel.

Joe Heard, Kitty Hawk planner, and Nancy Bellantine of Outer Banks Pathways will provide an overview with data on the area’s population and labor force breakdown. Discussion will center on why immigrants seek work in their industries, what kind of jobs the immigrants hold, and special challenges the employer faces in employing immigrants.

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions following the panel’s discussion.

The Community Services Panel will be experts from governmental and nonprofit organizations that provide services in Dare County—including immigrants. Mary Ellen Hawthorne will facilitate this panel.

The service areas represented on this second panel include Dare County departments of Social Services and Public Health, Interfaith Community Outreach, Outer Banks Hospital, College of the Albermarle, Outer Banks Pathways, and the Dare County Sheriff’s Office.

The panel will describe the services needed and provided by their organizations and insight into the challenges they confront, such as funding and language.

There will be an opportunity for questions after the panels.

According to a press release, the LWV is sponsoring this program “to educate the community as to the importance of immigrants to our local economy and to the challenges faced by this portion of the labor force in obtaining necessary services.”

“This will not be a debate about the legal status of immigrants as that debate must be resolved by the U.S. government,” the league said in the release. “Some panelists may discuss how they are challenged by them— the focus is on the immigrants, why they are here and their challenges while they work in our industries and services.”
 
The LWV asks that attendees make a special effort to arrive promptly to take seats. The program will start promptly at 1 p.m. There must be enough time for both panels to complete their discussions and answer attendees’ questions.




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