An issue affecting businesses across Cape Cod is hitting home – the need for J-1 housing for student workers who come here each summer as part of the Summer Work Travel Program.
With shortages in J-1 housing reported every year, the Orleans Chamber of Commerce is hosting a J-1 Housing Workshop to both explain the J-1 process as well as educate attendees about the benefits of hosting a student. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 31 from 3pm to 4:30pm at the Orleans Council on Aging, 150 Rock Harbor Rd., Orleans.
Presenters will include Michelle Welsh, Intrax World Travel; the Reverend Catherine Boyle, Mid-Cape J-1 Housing Program; Lt. Kevin Higgins, Orleans Police Dept.; Brian Junkins, Friends’ Marketplace and Garden Center; Beverly Fuller, Anchorage Home Watch and John Fuller Locksmith; and Maureen O’Day, Image Makers Salon.
“This is a critical issue that directly impacts the success of the summer tourist season on the Cape,” says Noelle Pina, executive director of the Orleans Chamber of Commerce, who organized the event. “We rely on these students to fill summer jobs, so it’s up to us to find solutions to the problem of housing.”
In 2016, approximately 4,000 J-1 participants from over 50 countries worked on Cape Cod through the J-1 work and travel and J-1 intern programs, according to data gathered by the Mid-Cape J-1 Housing Program, headed by the Reverend Catherine Boyle. The majority of students had to find housing on their own.
What is the Summer Work Travel Program?
The Summer Work Travel Program allows post-secondary students to travel from their home countries to the U.S. for work. In order to be eligible for the program, participants must meet the following criteria:
- They must have sufficient English skills to interact in an English-speaking environment
- They must be post-secondary students who are enrolled in a full-time course of study at a post-secondary educational institution outside the U.S.
- They must have completed at least one semester of post-secondary study
- They must have a job offer in the U.S., unless they are from a visa-waiver country
The length of the program may not exceed four months and must be completed during the participant’s summer vacation. Participants in the program mostly fill positions at hotels, resorts, restaurants, attractions and amusement parks, but may also work for organizations such as architectural firms, legal offices, scientific research organizations, advertising agencies, graphic arts/publishing and other media communication businesses, computer software and electronics firms. Participants who do not have prearranged employment must have sufficient financial resources to support themselves during a search for employment.