In the News / June 2016

In Winooski, Many See Refugee Resettlement As Economic Advantage

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Vermont Public Radio article

June 13, 2016, Nina Keck

Amila Merdzanovic heads the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, a field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

She says the program focuses on early employment and early self-sufficiency and they help about 200 refugees enter the workforce in Vermont every year.

Merdzanovic doesn’t have hard data on the economic impact of Vermont’s refugees, but says in 2015, 88 percent of all employable adults they worked with were considered self-sufficient after eight months.

“Even within first couple weeks people go to work. They rent in those communities, they shop in those communities, so they contribute to the taxpayer pool,” explains Merdzanovic. Adding, “ultimately, a lot of people want to own their own homes.”

City officials say refugees have not increased Winooski’s municipal budget except for $10,000 that’s now allocated annually for translation services at public meetings.

“Even within first couple weeks people go to work. They rent in those communities, they shop in those communities, so they contribute to the taxpayer pool.” — Amila Merdzanovic

 

 

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