Summer’s workforce a uniting of nations

International students in U.S. on visas help fill job openings



Help wanted signs still dot windows of shops in Lake George, Saratoga Springs and other area resort communities.

But local officials say job fairs and a student visa program have gone a long way to meet demand.

“We have many employers who go through the J-1 international student program,” said Gina Mintzer, executive director of the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau. The program brings overseas students and young adults to the United States to work. Local residents also are filling positions.

“My colleagues here say people are walking in daily looking for jobs,” Mintzer added. “People are fully staffed. Jobs are being filled.”

With a cap on H-2B visas, which also supply seasonal workers, the J-1 students are critical to meeting labor needs.

“The labor supply is adequate with the influx of the J-1 students,” said Lake George Mayor Robert Blais.

He estimates the program, which the Trump administration considered cutting last year, brought 1,500 to 1,800 students to the Lake George area this season.

“Most of them work two jobs,” Blais said. “They fill most of the entry-level jobs.”

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