PBC hospitality employers trying to reduce dependence on foreign workers

Change would help local job seekers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - After months without steady employment, Latoya Darville may now have a better chance of finally landing a job. 

"This economy has been so hard, been looking for so long. It's been touch and go," said Darville, a mother of four in West Palm Beach.

Darville will be vying for one of about 8,000 seasonal and part-time jobs at area country clubs and resorts. In previous years, many of those jobs would go to foreign workers, coming to the United States on temporary visas. 

"There's a lot of people here at home you know that need jobs that are local that are looking," she said.

"Why would we have people come from another country to fill those jobs?," asked Patrick Cannan, who manages Workforce Alliance in West Palm Beach. 

Cannan is part of a new hospitality task force working with many of the area's top tourism employers, Boca Resort & Club, Boca West Country Club, Ballenisles, Ibis and Admiral's Cove, encouraging them to literally change the way they do business. 

"It's the best thing to do for everybody to do the best they can do to hire locally," he said.

Cannan says, historically, seasonal hospitality employees can come from South Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. But with Palm Beach County's unemployment rate hovering at 8.5%, there is a bigger push to hire those who live here and are looking for work.

Darville is getting her resume ready and trying to land temporary work. She hopes it leads to a more stable more permanent solution down the road. 

"You never know when that opportunity might lead you to something else," she said. "Maybe they might change their mind and keep you."

Workforce Alliance is hosting a hospitality event at its West Palm Beach location at the corner of Okeechobee Boulevard and Military Trail on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

For details about the event, c lick here .
 

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