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Chamber director shares news on building the workforce

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Ida Rukavina, an aide to Senator Amy Klobuchar contacted the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority and the Cook County Chamber this week to let the county know that the number of H-2B worker visas is being increased for 2018.

On May 25, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced that an additional 15,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas will be made available. Secretary Nielsen said she had determined there are not sufficient, qualified, U.S. workers available to perform temporary non-agriculture labor to satisfy the needs of American businesses in FY18.

This allocation is in addition to the 66,000 visas already issued this year.

The H-2B temporary worker program was designed to serve U.S. businesses unable to find a sufficient number of qualified U.S. workers to perform nonagricultural work of a temporary nature. Congress set the annual H-2B visa cap at 66,000. On February 27, 2018, US Customs and Immigration determined that it had received sufficient H-2B petitions to meet the full 2018 cap of 66,000.

Details on eligibility and filing requirements will be available on when the final temporary rule is posted for public inspection.

WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with Cook County Chamber Director Jim Boyd about the situation in Cook County--and about the Chamber's efforts to build the workforce on the North Shore.