LAKE GEORGE - Problems with housing and employment experienced by foreign workers with jobs in and around Lake George has prompted the village government to plan a forum next spring.
The forum is to be held in conjunction with the International Educational Exchange, an agency in Maine that arranges temporary work visas. Representatives from the U.S. Department of State, state Department of Labor and the Social Security Administration are expected to participate in the forum, according to a press release issued by village Mayor Robert Blais.
Set for May 3, the meeting is anticipated to cover a variety of topics related to employment, accommodations, fair and timely pay, and other issues related to foreign students working in a variety of positions in various resort areas.
For years, recurring problems have been experienced in Lake George with substandard housing and poor living conditions experienced by many workers. A village-sponsored agency intended to prevent and correct such problems was closed down last year after a decade of certifying housing for foreign workers was safe, adequate and reasonably priced. The agency, "Connections," also handled pay disputes and a wide variety of employment-related issues. Since this "Connections" agency closed down, dozens of problems have again been reported.
Similar forums held in Myrtle Beach, Cape Cod, Virginia Beach and Ocean City, Md. have proven to be extremely useful, Blais said. Two years ago, the state Department of Labor hosted a seminar on employment regulations pertaining to foreign students that was attended by more than 50 employers, according to the mayor.
"The benefits of having a number of foreign students willing to work in our area from early spring to Columbus Day are extremely important," Blais said. "All employers and owners of accommodations, big and small should take interest in this opportunity and plan to attend."