Four new voluntary work/study groups are being formed this month to begin a summer of learning and preparation for welcoming Latino workers, their families and other newcomers as permanent residents of Greene County.
All this is part of the “diversity project,” now branded as “Nueva Vida en Greene County,” launched last November by the Greene County Development Corporation to build the local workforce, grow the population and promote new multi-cultural vitality here. The project was explained to the public in seven different town hall meetings held around the county in late April and early May.
“We have separate efforts underway now to begin our advertising and recruiting campaigns to introduce Latino workers to our employers in Greene County,” said Chuck Offenburger, of rural Cooper, chairperson of the project’s steering committee. “That includes setting up a van transportation network so we can transport workers from Latino-rich communities within an hour’s drive of our county. And we’re also setting up the training programs for work skills and any language challenges that we’ll have.”
He said the new work & study groups are being formed this summer to help current residents of the county learn about the Latino culture, and to understand how life here will begin changing as we welcome more people and become a more diverse community.
The four new sub-committees are currently being called:
–Cultural History & Integration.
— Food, Arts, Music & Culture.
–Soccer Events & Facilities.
“I will be coordinating the start-up and resourcing of these sub-committees,” Offenburger said. “Basically, I envision them running their own shows – but with a common, agreed-upon mission of preparing all Greene Countians for the exciting growth that’s coming.”
He is asking that people with some experience in the interest areas of these sub-committees to contact him if they would be willing to serve through the summer as the chairpersons or co-chairpersons. Also, people who would just like to serve on the sub-committees can contact him now, too, and he will refer names to the chairpersons.
The target is to have the chairpersons identified and the sub-committees populated by Sunday, May 29. Their meetings and work will begin around the county in June, with public classes and programs to be scheduled throughout the summer.
“GCDC will help us if we have some initial organization costs,” Offenburger said. “But I feel sure we’re going to need additional funds to bring-in some speakers, musicians and other instructional help. So if we have any civic-minded people, companies or organizations that want to help underwrite what is going to be a wonderful exercise in citizen diplomacy, I’d sure like to hear from them.”
He can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at (515) 370-2659 (cell).