By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - It's been almost a year's worth of planning, but now managers at many Tall City hotels say help is here in the form of foreign workers. Right now, about two dozen workers, mostly from Eastern Europe, are now living and working in Midland.
It's no question lots of jobs in the Basin need to be filled, especially in hospitality and service industries. So, in the past two to three weeks, the Midland Chamber of Commerce has helped to facilitate bringing foreign workers into help at local hotels.
"For us, in terms of the hotel, it gives us an opportunity to give our staff a little rest," Keith Dial Jr., the General Manager at the Midland Hilton Hotel, said. "We've been running six days, eight to ten hours a day since January."
Dial said business is good at many local hotels, but staff shortages make it tough. That's why he said his added 12 student-workers are a big help.
"They're young people from Uzbekistan, from Russia, that are here now from Belarus, got two more from Turkey today that will be placed in one of the hotels," Dial explained.
"Because it's been a really big gap, in that field with the lack of workforce," Tracy Dau, the Workforce Development Coordinator with the Midland Chamber of Commerce, said.
Tracy Dau said about four to five new foreign workers are coming to West Texas per week. However, she said the idea is not just limited to hotels.
"As we grow bigger, and as we get a successful track record, we certainly would like for restaurants to have the opportunity to utilize this as well," Dau explained.
But what about the workers themselves? Making some money is nice, but practicing the language is also a plus.
"Because in our country, a lot of countries need to know English, very much, because everywhere when you go to work, you need to know English," said Vladimir Vustean, a student-worker from Moldova.
Vustean said even at the La Quinta Inn on West Wall is a chance to learn about a world very different from home.
"I hope to [gain] some experience," said Vustean. "To see the world. I just live in one small country...to visit different people."
Vustean is like many of the foreign workers in Midland, who have work visa's to stay about three to four months. He said he will be in Midland until September. Managers at the hotels NewsWest 9 talked to said with regards to bringing in and utilizing foreign workers, so far so good.