Assembly Considers Plight of Visiting Workers


Maggie Wall/KMXT

Summer in Kodiak means lots of fishermen and lots of cannery workers. The discussion at last night’s regular Kodiak Island Borough Assembly meeting was what to do with young people coming into town looking for work who are totally unprepared for life on the island.

Maggie Wall has more.

Boro Ass 1 5:06 secs "Unless you’ve been….SOC."

Unless you’ve been cooped up in an office all summer, you have no doubt seen the groups of young people who have come to town looking for jobs. As in past summers, many have come from Turkey.

For a young student from Turkey Kodiak represents an adventure and a chance to earn some money for school.

But these unprepared students represent a challenge for locals as well. Kodiak resident Jan Chato started the discussion with her comments to the assembly.

Boro Ass 1 Chato approached in yard

Chato told the Assembly that she’s been asking around town about the workers. She shared what she’s learned…

Boro Ass 2 Chato library, etc.

Assembly member Dave Kaplan said the assembly should investigate what housing options can be provided that are not available or legal right now…

Boro Ass 3 Kaplan flop houses, safety concerns

Assembly member Judy Fulp suggests that the processors take the lead…

Boro Ass 4 Fulp need bunkhouses

Assembly member Pat Branson said the best way to deal with the influx of foreign students is to go to the source…

Boro Ass 5 Branson correct bad info

Chato said she knows of one source of the information.

Boro Ass 5 Chato CIEE website

That site is CIEE dot org and it is colorful and enticing. Here’s what it says about working abroad…

"Be more than a tourist! Go home with great memories, cool photos, and an international work experience on your resume."

It goes on to state how you can be more than a tourist-not only can you experience life in the US by working side-by-side with locals, but the work helps cover your travel expenses.

CIEE stands for Council on International Educational Exchange. They list an address in Portland, Maine. CIEE was founded in 1947 and claims to be a world leader in student exchange services. The site boasts helping nearly 50,000 students and educators per year to find exchange programs throughout the globe.

There was an interesting comment on the website that may give some Kodiak residents comfort. It says-and I quote-It’s important to finish your job and leave your employer on good terms.

I’m Maggie Wall.

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