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The Effects of Refugee Resettlement on a Rural Town

Lifetrack Resources is a nonprofit human services organization with a mission to work together to develop the strengths within children, families and adults facing the greatest life challenges. Founded in 1948, Lifetrack annually helps more than 9,000 people create a better life through its focus on Child and Family Healthy Development and Employment and Economic Opportunity. During the past 3 years there were many new refugees from Burma (Karen) who moved to Worthington, MN to work at the JBS pork processing plant. Many, but not all, of the refugees were assisted in resettlement by nonprofit refugee employment services agencies located in the Twin Cities. During the summer of 2010 Lifetrack Resources applied for a CURA intern to study how the influx of new refugees impacted and/or revitalized Worthington. The data Lifetrack received from the study was very valuable to inform how best they can support other refugee families requesting help to move to rural areas in Minnesota. However, gaps remained in the research to know how best to work with community leaders in rural towns to help support new refugees. Barbara Stone, a doctoral student in the College of Education and Human Development, gathered data regarding how the influx of new refugees impacted the city of Worthington. The results are being used to strengthen existing work with rural communities outside of the metro and to provide greater assistance and support prior to assisting with a relocation outside of the metro area.

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Lifetrack Resources
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